Best Restaurants in Ottawa


Upcoming Events & Notices

March 16, 2020: In a hastily-called news conference at City Hall today Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson made the following announcement: "Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the City of Ottawa has ordered the immediate closure of Ottawa restaurants including—and in fact in particular (Mayor Watson's emphasis)every single one of the W.A.R. canteens and chophouses" 

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020: With so many of our local cafés and canteens closed for the month of January (and likely February and March), where's a W.A.R. veteran supposed to go for a beer (and maybe a pickled egg or two) on a Saturday night? Kind of obvious, as soon as I thought about it, so a few nights ago I put on my uniform and headed down the street to Richmond Road.

As the door into the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 480) swung shut behind me, the monotonous drone of traffic was supplanted by the buzzing of fluorescent lights that dangled overhead, a noise that was itself quickly replaced by the sound of raised voices making brash claims and counterclaims about who'd had the most hair-raising combat experiences, particularly when it came to unreliable collaborators, unsanitary conditions and bad food—all painfully familiar subjects, I thought glumly to myself, for any long-serving member of W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs).

Before I had a chance to contribute a story or two of my own, though, the Legionnaires had begun to crowd around me, wanting, no doubt, to get a better look at the new 'recruit'. One old vet, scrutinizing the colourful array of plastic medals and service ribbons on my chest, asked if I'd served in Korea. "More likely Kosovo", another (much younger) soldier interjected. "Or Afghanistan", suggested a third.

No, I told them. As a young man I'd wanted to serve overseas (I used to dream of plating up flambéed trout to adoring customers in a fancy Paris brasserie), but I had a wife and kids and believed it was my solemn duty to serve locally, in Westboro. It wasn't an easy assignment. At Vive la bouffe I not only waited table seven days a week—I also prepped, cooked and cleaned up. But even if I'd been too busy to see the wider world, I contended, I still managed to 'taste'  the world.

Pulling out a copy of my cookbook, Boiling Over, I turned to pages 174 and then 202, featuring photos and recipes for Bibimbouffe! and Kimchi respectively, and asked the first old-timer if he had ever plated up anything that looked that good when he was serving in Korea (he hadn't). Turning to the next veteran, I held up a photo of Persian Rice Pilaf (Boiling Over, pg. 164). Did he ever, in the course of his five-year deployment in Afghanistan, take an order for anything that looked that delicious? (he didn't).

Finally, to the fellow who'd served in Kosovo, I carefully described a new recipe for Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls (intended for Boiling Over, Book 2 but unpublished thanks to my unloyal penny-pinching 'friends'). Could he imagine anything pairing more nicely with the pickled egg he was eating than these Cabbage Rolls? (he couldn't).

Other members of the Legion must not have been feeling quite as agreeable, however, because suddenly five or six of them grabbed me from behind and pinned me down while another old-timer used a black Sharpie to draw a crude dartboard on the back of my spotless white chef's jacket. I was then held, unable to move, while a platoon of elderly Fusiliers gathered to throw darts at the target on my back.

Luckily, they were quite drunk and the very first dart thrown missed me completely and instead hit one of  the old soldiers who was holding me. He gasped in pain, letting go of me as he reached for the dart in his shoulder, and in the ensuing commotion—with one old veteran shouting for the medic, another calling for reinforcements and a third frantically attempting to play the Last Post on an old bugle that had been lying on the floor under the shuffleboard table—I managed to dash to the exit. Never before has the discordant noise of traffic sounded sweeter than it did to me then, as the Legion door closed behind me, muting the shouts and screams that were still going on inside. 

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Monday November 11, 2019: Last week a young lad in the neighbourhood, seeing me wearing my medals (they're permanently pinned to my chef's whites, which I often wear when I'm raking leaves in the front yard), asked me if I'd served in the W.A.R.. I was surprised, because I didn't know that children his age knew anything at all about the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs (W.A.R. for short), but I was proud to tell him that yes indeed, I was what would rightly be called a W.A.R. veteran, given that I'd been waiting tables and washing dishes at Vive la bouffe! (a founding member of W.A.R.) since before the turn of the century. Not only that, I told him, I was still actively engaged in W.A.R., unlike the lackadaisical owners and chefs of other local greasy spoons like Pålegg, La Bufala and The Liver Spot.

The boy seemed confused, but must have passed on word of my many years of distinguished service to others in the neighbourhood because first thing this morning I got a call from the principal of Broadview School asking me if I would be kind enough to come in to speak to Mrs. Flegmussell's grade five history class about my W.A.R. experiences. I immediately agreed. After all, these young students are potential future customers for our struggling Westboro cafés and bistros, and we have to drum up business whatever way we can.

Within ten minutes of launching into my lecture about Food Prep & Table-Setting, though, I was interrupted by a boy in the back row who insisted that—in all my years at W.A.R.—surely I'd experienced something more exciting than 'Forks to left of plate, knives and spoons to right'. Luckily, I was able to recall some scenes of pushing and shoving at our serving counters, and the odd argument over the merit (or in the case of an abysmal series called ‘This is Us’, the total lack of merit) of certain Netflix shows. But as I spoke I could see by the baffled looks on the children's faces that they didn't understand a word I was saying. Even Mrs. Flegmussell looked bewildered.

Then a girl in the first row chimed in to say that her grandfather, who'd served in the Royal Sussex (I've never heard of it but if it's that gastropub in Hintonburg that serves weak British ales and 'small plate' meals then don't bother going) had once told her that "W.A.R. food was horrible". I had to admit that yes, some of our restaurants—on occasion—serve food that might be a little bit overcooked or, in the case of the Eden Street Café (that continues to run out of propane on a regular basis) undercooked, but that for the most part W.A.R. food is quite good. That got more blank stares from the students, and what by now resembled a fierce scowl from Mrs. Flegmussell.

Another question, this time from a young lad who'd been frantically waving his hand in the air for five minutes—Had I ever been captured, he wanted to know, and if so, did I end up as a prisoner of W.A.R.?

After thinking about this for a few moments I had to admit that yes, at times anyway, I have indeed felt like a prisoner of W.A.R.. With no one else to help write reviews or to post Upcoming Notices on the foodhippo website, no one else to help put up posters or election signs... I have, on occasion, felt very much alone, and trapped.

Had I tried to escape?, the boy wanted to know. "No", I told him. If there was no one else who would help, I would just have to grit my teeth and do it on my own. It was my humble duty, so I might as well just get on with it.

By this time, Mrs. Flegmussell had called in the school custodian to escort me from the classroom. The last thing I heard before the door slammed shut behind me was one of the boys in the back row saying that the only actual battle I was ever a part of—and that I'd clearly lost—was the Battle of the Bulge. That comment caused the whole class to explode with laughter.

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October 28, 2019: Important Notice to all W.A.R. calendar users—

There was some confusion recently when Tweedsmuir's Kitchen Manager was trying to book flights for an upcoming visit to the U.K.. While on the phone with an Air Canada agent, and with her W.A.R. calendar's November page spread out in front of her, she tried to book flights—Ottawa-London on Thursday November 9, and then London-Ottawa on the following Thursday (November 19). It was the ideal itinerary in that she'd be gone just a week (Thursday to Thursday) and yet she'd have a full ten days with her daughter in England—from the 9th to the 19th. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) the Air Canada ticket agent pointed out that the chosen dates made no sense, and the Kitchen Manager was forced to select new flights using the Google Calendar app on the ticket agent's iPhone.

n.b. there will NOT be a recall of the W.A.R.-issued calendars, because all the other months have exactly the right days of the week, numbered perfectly. However, all W.A.R. calendar users should be cautious when marking down important engagements such as dentist appointments, day-surgeries, blind dates and legal meetings on their W.A.R. calendars... at least for the month of November.  On that note, please mark down THIS date on your calendar:

What: Dinner at Vive la bouffe!

When: Friday, November 17

Why: It's our way of saying 'Thank you!" for your loyalty, meaning all the votes you cast for our W.A.R. candidate in last Monday's election. That was SO NICE of you!!!   

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IMPORTANT NOTICE! On October 21, 2019 Canadians will go to the polls to elect the country's 43rd Parliament. The W.A.R. Party is running just one candidate, in the Ottawa riding of Westboro.

In the last few weeks W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs) has made a series of election promises, starting with the Right to Serve Yourself (see Article 14a, Declaration of W.A.R.) and the Right to Second Helpings (Article 14b). W.A.R. is also pledging Freedom of Choice for all restaurant customers (see entry below, "It has come to our attention...") and the Right to Choose—particularly for female customers who can sometimes be picky eaters. New—and much more rigorous—rules regarding Customer Consent are also spelled out in W.A.R.'s election platform (see details three entries below).

Remember to get out and vote on October 21!

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On Saturday, September 28, 2019, Zennnnn's sommelier and Kitchen Manager hosted a large birthday party in their backyard. Dinner guests flew in from Amsterdam, Belarus, Minneapolis, Poland, Russia, Long Island N.Y. and Washington DC, while other customers (who live not quite as far away) simply walked.

The chill in the late September air provided ideal serving temperatures for the many bottles of Sauvignon Blanc that were on hand, which meant that Zennnn's sommelier didn't have to waste time and energy looking for the refrigerator (which is what happens when dinner service is held inside the restaurant) and could actually relax and talk to his dinner guests.

But while conditions were perfect for the Sauvignon Blanc, not all of Zennnn's customers enjoyed being chilled to a frosty 3 degrees Celsius. To combat this, a large patio heater was installed in the middle of the backyard. The choice of fuel—coal—seemed a little surprising given that the party was being held just a day after a world-wide Climate March to protest the use of fossil fuels, but there was no 'protesting' from Zennnn's semi-frozen customers!

The Zennnn party was—without doubt—the most spectacular (so far anyway) of the Westboro Restaurant Fall Season, featuring speeches, toasts, lively conversations and delicious hors d'oeuvres served in style by elegantly-dressed waiters and waitresses (makes you wonder about the old jeans and t-shirts worn by the waitstaff at some of the other neighbourhood cafés and bistros!).

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It has come to our attention that W.A.R. restaurants, which typically don't even offer a menu but instead simply serve every customer EXACTLY THE SAME MAIN, along with the SAME side and the SAME salad and SAME dessert(!!!!) , have been failing to give our valued customers Freedom of Choice.

Which is why we're adding Statute 6.4.b to our new Customer Consent Protocols.

Statute 6.4.b (section 1) formally recognizes every woman's Right to Choose—whether she feels like chicken or beef or something vegetarian, or (on the side) potatoes or rice or Mixed Greens or what-have-you.

Freedom of Choice and the Right to Choose also apply to male customers of course (Statute 6.4.b section 2), but men aren't usually as picky and Kitchen Managers can pretty well always depend on them to eat whatever the women are eating.

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On August 30, 2019 IMPORTANT DETAILS of W.A.R.'s new Customer Consent Protocols were finally released. Forthwith, all Westboro restaurant owners, managers and waitstaff are legally obliged to insure that CUSTOMER CONSENT is:

Obtained by dinner host WITHOUT PRESSURE (Article 2b, section 11.3)—

• e.g., Kitchen Manager (speaking on phone): "We'd love it if the two of you could come for dinner next Friday! But only if you've got nothing else to do"

customer (after a long pause): "Well, we'll try to make it I guess"
Kitchen Manager: "Wonderful! But remember—you can always change your mind if you get another invitation or if at the last minute you decide you just don't feel like coming!"

REVERSIBLE (Resolution 16.7.4). Customer can withdraw consent at a moment's notice—

• e.g., customer: "I know it's just eight o'clock and we said we could stay 'til eleven but we have to leave. There's something on Netflix that we don't want to miss!"

INFORMED (see Statute 4, paragraph 2.1.3). There should be NO SURPRISES

• e.g., customer: "I thought you said we were going to have trout. Instead it's... pork!?! You DO know we're vegetarian, right!??"

ENTHUSIASTIC (Item 16, Subitem 1a). It's incumbent on restaurant staff to gauge customer's frame of mind at all times—

• e.g., sommelier: "Another glass of wine?"
customer: "Is it a Sauvignon Blanc? Okay then—but just a little bit (glub, glub)... more than that though (glub, glub). Keep pouring (glub, glub), keep pouring (glub, glub, glub)... Perfect!"

But 'Yes' one minute doesn't necessarily mean 'Yes' a minute later (Item 16, Subitem 1b)—

• e.g., sommelier to same customer: "Here, let me top that up"
customer (shouting angrily): "Are you trying to get me tipsy??!! Someone call 911!"

UNCONDITIONAL: Customer Consent cannot be tied to any kind of Quid pro quo, either implicit or explicit
• i.e. Just because you're invited to a dinner party doesn't mean you "owe" whoever invited you a return invitation (for additional details, see the Schwartz/Scully Amendment (Dec., 2009) that changed the Rules of Reciprocity as laid out in the Magna Carta (June, 1215). 

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There's been a growing chorus of complaints from W.A.R. proprietors that in the last few months a number of dinner parties have been held BUT NOT REVIEWED. Angry owners and waitstaff at Powter's Eats (in Montreal), La Mangeoire Pic-Bois (Wakefield) and (in the W.A.R. zone) Eden Street Café, Le Jardin, Barristers, Tweedsmuirs, The Frosty Mug, La Bufala and Zennnnnn are wondering why their hard work has gone unnoticed.

All those appetizers and sides that were browned and burned in the name of hospitality...

All the mains and desserts that were simmered and scorched in pursuit of camaraderie...

All the tables apprehensively set and then a few hours later (after the last guests finally leave) indignantly cleared...  

And for what?!!? To be ignored and forgotten??!

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On the evening of Saturday, November 10, 2018, seven bone-chilled customers (the day was depressingly cold and windy) stumbled into Vive la bouffe! for a meal of Kale and Swiss Chard Tart and Pork Tenderloin. Reviews are already pouring in.

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NOTICE: On Monday, November 5, 2018, four customers converged on FOMO<nomo for a tasting menu that featured Guizado de Enchiladas, Mixed Greens and Birthday Cake. Look here for reviews.

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On Saturday, November 3, 2018, a W.A.R. delegation from Vive la bouffe! and FOMO>nomo met at Beckta Dining & Wine to steal some recipe ideas. Reviews were posted here on Vive la bouffe's page because Beckta doesn't have a foodhippo page of its own (and wont' be getting one any time soon).

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On the evening of Saturday, November 2, 2018, Vive la bouffe! served up a watery Ratatouille and a bland Bean Pie (!) to seven stoical customers. bouffe's waiter and sous-chef (who made the bean pie) admitted that the meal was "basic", but insisted that he was simply trying to "lower the (culinary) bar" after last week's impossible-to-follow banquet at Barristers. Three unfavourable reviews were posted before foodhippo's moderator had a chance to close the thread.

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Wednesday October 24, 2018: Vive la bouffe!'s sommelier announced today that he has started serving a full-bodied new red that comes from "old-growth vines" in the Leamington Ontario region. bouffe's sommelier describes it as "a plump, earthy red, not at all pretentious", featuring "hints of plum, cherry, beefsteak and San Marzano", with "an assertive finish of salt and sheep manure". Pairs well with celery and perfect for cellaring (check Best Before date first) but "drinkable right out of the can".
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On Saturday, October 13, 2018, five customers at Le Jardin enjoyed a meal of Braised Pork, Oven-roasted Vegetables and Scalloped Potatoes. Reviews are already coming in.
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NOTICE: on Sunday, October 7, 2018, Vive la bouffe!'s peripatetic waitress returned home from her peddling adventures in northern Italy, all the reason the bouffe staff needed to celebrate Thanksgiving a day early. Dinner included a Deep-fried Turkey (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXESqkUf2IU) for instructions on how NOT to deep-fry a turkey), Stuffing, Brussels sprouts, Mashed potatoes with Gravy, Mashed Turnpits, Roasted Yams and Cranberry Sauce. A lot like past Thanksgiving dinners, but this one was somehow different, more... I don't know... relaxing. Probably because bouffe's waiter hardly said a word. He was calm, quiet and mild-mannered. Are they sedating him???!!!

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On the evening of Monday, October 22, 2018, REX dazzled six dinner patrons with a steak-frites extravaganza.

Read customer comments here.

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ANNOUNCEMENT, October 2, 2018: Vive la bouffe! will be shuttering its doors for the foreseeable future as bouffe!'s waiter, in a last-ditch effort to find a cure for his debilitating migraines, embraces ALL of the world's major religions (at the same time).

Pills haven't worked; neither have hot compresses or ice packs or "trying to relax", so he's now seeking Divine Intervention... wherever he might get it.

Starting today, October 2, 2018, bouffe will be closed for business on Saturdays and Sundays (so the waiter can pray in local synagogues and churches respectively). In a few weeks, on October 27, 2018, bouffe's kitchen will be closed while the waiter celebrates Diwali at the Hindu Temple in Gloucester, and on November 1, he will be eating a light meal of burritos at the Beachwood Cemetery in Vanier (along with a few dozen members of Ottawa's Mexican community) to mark the Day of the Dead—El Dia de los Muertos.

Restaurant goers please note that Vive la bouffe! won't be serving—or even making—meals during next year's holy month of Ramadan (May 5-June 4). For those thirty days, the waiter will be fasting (to the best of his abilities). And in the heightened state of mystical gullibility that starvation can bring on, he will be asking Allah to recommend some other migraine medication that actually works.

Last but not least, bouffe! will be closed every Thursday night from now on so that the waiter can piously meditate on the inevitability of suffering and pain—which sounds like another migraine but is actually Buddhism.

In the meantime, as a newly devout Catholic, he's encouraging bouffe's waitress—who is currently peddling a bike around Italy—to cycle to Rome instead of returning to her pensione in Riccione every night, in hopes that she might talk Pope Francis into performing an exorcism.

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NOTICE: The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse and Vive la bouffe!, two well-regarded chophouses on the Westboro restaurant scene, will be closed from September 26 until October 7, 2018 while their two Kitchen Managers tour northern Italy on bicycles in search of new recipes. In their absence, Eden's mâitre d' has been eating mostly hamburgers (made in his Instant Pot because the BBQ won't light), while bouffe's waiter is surviving on Mapo Tofu or more accurately 麻婆豆腐 (see page 116 of Boiling Over for the recipe).

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On the weekend of September 15-16, seven hungry Westborians made the trip north to B'north (operated by the owners of Barristers), the elegant new restaurant and resort on Lake Achigan, Quebec. Reviews are already starting to trickle in.

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Maybe Vlb isn't seating customers these days as the NOTICE below says, but the bouffe kitchen is still providing take-out orders. On Wednesday Sept. 12, 2018 the wife and I got four bowls 'to go' and took them to Folk Fest to listen to Steve Earle and enjoy some 'Stir-fried Tofu, Dumplings and Vegetables on Wild Rice'. Unfortunately the people who check bags on your way in turned us away, said you can't take food in!

So we ended up eating sitting outside the Cattle Castle, and to make up for the less than elegant ambience I made a lightning trip to the nearby LCBO and got four cans of beer. And here's where I have to complement the Folk Fest wait staff (dressed as security guards for some reason) because—and the timing was incredible—just as I finished my can of beer a waiter came by and told me that drinking beer there was against the law (!). Instead of getting mad, I simply handed him my empty can... which he obligingly took away. You don't get kind of service at Vive la bouffe!

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NOTICE, Monday September 10, 2018Vive la bouffe! has been 'Closed Until Further Notice’. According to rumours, bouffe's waiter—who moonlights as foodhippo’s poster boy for Restaurant Reformation (his latest self-appointed mission seems to be nothing less than to solve the centuries-old problem of Invitation Inequality (#downwiththepope, reciprocityorbust, #nineyears&countingwtf)—has been placed on stress leave by his doctors.

After a frantic week spent devising, printing and then defiantly nailing three cryptic new posters onto church doors and telephone poles right across Westboro, the over-burdened 'waiter-provocateur' suffered a debilitating migraine and has refused to get out of bed.

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Wednesday, August 22: An angry customer has gone on foodhippo to call out a waiter at Westboro's Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse.

WeCanDoIt'87, an online restaurant reviewer and an #I,AsWell activist (#I,AsWell is a social movement fighting sexual misconduct and harassment much like #MeToo but with an emphasis on proper grammar) posted a dinner review last night saying that she observed the waiter at Eden Street "constantly touching the waitress's shoulder and hugging her without warning". Regarding the meal itself, WeCanDoIt'87 complained that "their were smoked almonds but where was the smoked salmon FFS?!?!".

Her accusatory post unleashed a cascade of allegations against other popular Westboro restaurants that, like WeCanDoIt'87's review, included comments not just about the food (eg."Chicken@bouffe! undercooked, hubby vomited on drive home", and "Still can't order a burger at La Bufala? Hello?!?") but also about the 'sexploitative' and mysoginistic behaviour that seems to be rampant in the kitchens and dining rooms of these oddball Westboro eateries.

sista_hood, who dined a week ago at Zennnn, said that the Head Sommelier "chauvinistically left it up to the waitress to get him his chilled bottles of wine from the refrigerator, and then (like most males) forgot to put them back so she had to do it". Another customer (wrathkittenX) who ate recently at Vive la bouffe! asked to use the washroom upstairs ("—as multiple posters to foodhippo have said, time and again, the facilities downstairs are too close to the dining room!!!") and reported that her tour of the storage rooms on the second floor took her past one large pantry that featured "a big bed". In her review she wondered whether "the poor waitress freely chooses to share this bed with the Maître d', or whether she feels compelled to because of the asymmetrical power dynamics that are all too common on the Westboro restaurant scene". wrathkittenX also alleged that the evening's main course had too much black pepper.

Only one posting to #I,AsWell attempts to counter these claims. BEeatin' argues that although these illustrious Head Chefs and celebrated Maître d's may think they can take advantage of waitresses and receptionists, the facts suggest otherwise. "I've been eating at these Westboro bistros for years now and what I've observed is that all of these hapless kitchen crackpots, far from giving orders, are in reality following orders issued by female staff members who, clearly, are much more competent than their male counterparts. As a result, traditional power and gender dynamics actually WORK IN REVERSE in these kitchens".

It's worth noting that none of the above accusations has been proven in the courts, and it's also worth noting that if any readers take offence at foodhippo's attempt to make sense of these recent developments, please don't blame foodhippo's overworked writer. Instead, call 737-1111 to lodge a formal complaint.

Also, for those interested, #I,AsWell activists are planning to meet at Tweedsmuir's on the evening of Thursday, September 20 to plan their next move and to eat pizza. Speakers include WeCanDoIt'87, and sista_hood.

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The owners of Zennnnn, a popular Westboro bistro, are proud to announce the birth of their second grandchild. Micah James Michalowski was born in Minneapolis on Monday, August 20, 2018. When asked about the young lad's future, Zennnnn's sommelier said that as soon as he can walk he'll get training as a busboy. Zennnnn's Kitchen Manager insisted that she can already imagine Micah as a famous chef.

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Sunday, July 28 2018 UPDATE: According to an indignant restaurant review that was posted on foodhippo late last night, at least one of the Westboro eateries (that were supposed to stay closed while 19 charges of Culinary Appropriation wind their way through the courts) was Open for Business yesterday. The City of Ottawa's Food Inspection Services will be investigating.

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Monday July 23 2018 BREAKING NEWS—A series of coordinated police raids has resulted in the arrest of some of Westboro's best-known chefs. All of them have been charged with Culinary Appropriation, a serious crime. Ordinarily, they would be represented in court by the waiter at Barristers (who moonlights as a lawyer) but that won't be possible this time, given that he and his wife have been charged with Culinary Appropriation too. You can read about all of this in today's issue of The Westboro Times, here.

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UPDATE, July 1 2018: Nineteen guests were invited to yesterday's All-Day Party-on-the-Dock, but interestingly, only two bothered to show up. This morning, one of the owners of bouffe! nord sent an angry letter to Ask The Hippo (our popular advice column) asking for clarification on the subject of 21st-century party-invitation protocol.

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HEAT WARNING, June 29, 2018: Members of W.A.R. are being advised that extremely high temperatures this weekend will make cooking and cleaning chores even more arduous than usual. Restaurant owners are being advised to give staff the day off on Saturday June 30 (when kitchen temperatures, if there's a roast in the oven, will rise to 55 degrees Fahrenheit with the humidex) so that they can swim and relax on the dock at bouffe! nord instead. On the menu—watermelon and grapes.

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June 26, 2018—WARNING: Be on the lookout for what might be a 'prank' Canada Day party invitation! It may be a case of once-bitten, twice-shy, but the author of Boiling Over decided to put a few simple questions to the Events Manager at La Bufala to confirm his suspicions that the emailed invitation to "Come and celebrate Canada Day at our restaurant" might be yet another hoax. The responses weren't at all reassuring.  The answer to queston 1, 'What kitchen appliance did the owners of Zennnnnn forget to install?', was correct (a refrigerator) but that was an easy one—every teenage hacker who lives in Westboro has heard his parents laughing about that particular oversight.

It was the reply to another question—'Which of the following restaurants ignores pleas for second helpings: Eden Street Café, The Savoy, or Pålegg?'—that verified the author's skepticism. "All of them?" was the hacker's best guess, but of course The Savoy is the right answer (even if it's the wrong choice of restaurants, especially because, as if refusing seconds isn't bad enough, they also make you pay for your meal).

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All Quiet on the Westboro Front©. In these dog days of early summer Westboro's mom-and-pop restaurants aren't even bothering to open for business. Too hot, too inconvenient, too much work (also, Jazz Fest is going on).

The one exception to the neighbourhood-wide work stoppage is a luncheon party on the afternoon of Saturday, June 23, 2018 at Le Jardin. Please note that the function is for females only—no males are allowed. Jardin's groundskeeper has been instructed to stay outside to weed.

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Another conversation, recorded by a digital meat thermometer on La Mangeoire Pic-Bois's kitchen counter and uploaded to the Cloud (reproduced word-for-word below):

male voice: "Get out of the way you damn feather duster! Go on, shoo!"

sound of something like a size-ten loafer glancing off of plate glass window, followed by cursing, then sound of footsteps arriving, then female voice: "What's going on in here!?!"

male voice: "I'm trying to check the colour of the sky and the damn woodpeckers on the feeder are in the way"

female voice: "And why are you checking the colour of the sky?"

male voice: "Well I told the old gang in Westboro what we'd have them over—"

female voice: "Excuse me!?! Didn't we get out of that benighted neighbourhood in order to leave that whole squirrelly group behind? And now you're trying to bring them here? Don't you remember after they came out last December, and all the angry reviews just because we seated a few of them in the cold-storage room?"

male voice: "—but I was very specific this time. I said we'd have them out, but only when the shade of blue of the sky is juuuuuust right. Not too much lapis in it. But not too much cerulean either. You remember the waters off of Cat Island? Well that blue is close, but it's still too azure a blue. The sky, before we can invite them out, has to have just a little more indigo in it and—"

(long pause)

female voice: "And??"

male voice (continues): "—and even if that happens the breeze has to be from the south-west, not the south-east, and it has to be very gentle, but again, not too gentle. So, in other words... we won't be having them over any time soon!"

female voice: "Also, I'm not sure we have a ham"

male voice: "Ummm, we've got eight. They're hanging in the cold storage room"

female voice: "Good!  Then there's no room for customers anyway. So you can stop throwing your shoes at the @!ϏϠ֏Ջ! woodpeckers"

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May 30, 2018: A restaurant on Highland Avenue (just outside of the W.A.R. zone) with the unlikely name of Rod and Janet's House will be hosting six customers tonight for a Salad Niçoise Platter. Dinner will be served at 5:30 sharp because the visiting chef from France is still on Paris time (despite living in Canada for 17 years). When the proprietors of Rod and Janet's House confided that they didn't think any reviewers from the Michelin Guide would be in attendance, they were reassured that there would be a reviewer nevertheless... from foodhippo.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018: After being pranked four times last week, Vive la bouffe!'s suddenly mistrustful waiter responded to an improbable dinner invitation from Le Jardin by sarcastically thanking the prankster and then slamming down the telephone receiver.  A few hours after bouffe's receptionist called back and established that the call wasn't a hoax after all, six customers (including the owners of the Eden Street Café) enjoyed a delicious dinner of Chicken Pot Pie and Green Salad at Le Jardin.


Friday, May 25 2018: Four 'prank' phone calls were made this week to Vive la bouffe!'s unsuspecting waiter, and uploaded to the Cloud. Full transcripts are available for download at prankedU@peasnotwar.com, but for those of you without an internet connection, carbon copies are attached (below). Note that although it was assumed at first that these prank calls were sponsored by the Russian military intelligence agency (like the recent call to British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson from a hoaxer pretending to be Armenia's prime minister) it now seems likely that these calls were made by wait staff at Barristers, La Bufala and The Liver Spot.

------------

call #1, 5:45pm, May 21, 2018: sound of phone ringing, followed by sound of receiver being lifted up, then male voice: "Hello?"

female voice (authoritative, but thin and tinny because it's coming through the telephone receiver speaker): "Hi there, Heather Reisman here, Chief Executive at Indigo. I'm looking for as many copies of Boiling Over as I can get my hands on"

male voice (confused): "Boiling what?"

female voice: "Boiling Over. Your cookbook"

male voice: "Why would you want—"

female voice (patiently): "Let me explain. I want to put a big new display of 'The Best of Heather's Picks' just inside the front doors of our Pinecrest store and I want Boiling Over to be front and centre. I need a dozen copies. Two dozen if you've got them—"

(sound of heavy breathing)

female voice: "—and of course we'll want you to sign some of your books for our more important customers"

(sound of shallow breathing)

female voice: "Hello? Are you there?"

male voice (weakly): "Yes, but the thing is, I'm not sure my publisher has any more copies"

female voice: "Oh dear. I've already arranged for a glowing review of Boiling Over in next weekend's edition of the Globe & Mail. The editor's a close friend"

male voice (eagerly now): "Can give me a few days? I'll try to retrieve some copies that were distributed a couple of years ago. It's likely that most of them have never been opened, so they'd look like new. I think I can get you fifteen or so"

female voice: "That's a start anyway. As soon as you have them call me back at 737-1111"

male voice (barely audible—receiver is probably being covered) to someone else in room with him: "Write this down—737 (voice louder now as he puts mouth back on receiver)... what was the rest, eleven what?"

female voice: "Eleven eleven"

male voice: "Got it. Okay, I'll get right on it and call you at that number in two days, three days at the most!"

------------

call #2, 2:55am, May 22, 2018: sound of phone ringing then loud banging and crackling as receiver falls to floor. Male voice is heard cursing, female voice in background asks worriedly "What is it!!?"

male voice (now close to receiver, but gravelly): "Hello!??"

voice (upper class British accent): "Hello?"

female voice in background:"Is it one of the kids?!?"

male voice (angry now): "It's almost three in the morning!  Who's calling please!?!"

British voice: "I'm sorry about the hour, but I have an urgent request from Buckingham Palace—"

female voice in background: "Are the kids okay?!?!"

British voice continues: "Her Majesty is wondering if your dog could be shown this year at Crufts"

female voice in background: "Is it an emergency??!!"

male voice (confused): "Crufts?" (then, barely audible—receiver is probably covered while male speaks to female in room with him—"Shuushhh! It's about Chloe!")

British voice: "Crufts is the most important dog show in Britain. The Queen has requested that Chloe be shown. Both the Queen and the new Duchess of Sussex have seen photos of your dog and think she could win Best in Show"

male voice (excited, but still a bit bewildered): "That's so nice, but..." (voice trails off)

British voice coming through telephone receiver: "Hello?  Are you still there?"

male voice (continues haltingly): —"it's just that, I mean, our dog is wonderful and everything but she's not any particular breed so I'm not sure—"

British voice (interrupting): "—the Queen doesn't care if the dog's a Great Dane or a Corgi. She loves the dog, so does the Duchess, and that's all there is to it"

male voice (friendly now, enthusiastic): "Fine then! Just tell me when Crufts takes place?" (then, less clearly because receiver is covered while male speaks to other person in room—"Quick! Get a pen! Get ready to write this down!")

clicking and static sounds, British voice coming through telephone receiver is hard to hear: "Just bring (clicking sounds) the dog (garbled) Crufts"

(crackling sounds)

male voice (almost shouting): "Hello? Hello?!! We're losing the connection!  Look, can you try calling back?!?"

(silence)

male voice (becoming frantic): "Hello??!! Look, please tell the Queen—"

sound of dial tone

male voice (faltering): "—that we'll bring Chloe to Crufts"

------------

call #3, 2:20pm, May 24, 2018: sound of dialing, followed by sound of fingers tapping, then male voice (amiable, chummy): "Hello there.  I'm one of the co-owners of Vive la bouffe!, and I'm responding your lovely telephone message.  I'm sorry I missed your call, I was out walking the dog but I'm back now and, well... do I have the pleasure of talking to Anne Debrisay, the famous food and travel writer, not to mention restaurant critic?"

female voice (icy):  "How did you get my number?"

male voice (taken aback): "Well, you left it, at the end of your message. You said you wanted to book a table for Friday night because you've heard so many good things about Vive la bouffe! and I'm calling back to say—"

female voice (angry now): "Vive la what??"

male voice (slightly alarmed, speaking quickly): "—la bouffe. We've been reviewed before, but by friends and competitors and people like arsinik and chowser88 who know absolutely nothing about food. It would be wonderful to finally get some intelligent commentary"

sound of mouse clicking, keyboard keys hit

female voice: "Why don't I see Vive-la-whatever on the 'Where to Eat in Ottawa' site?"

male voice (defensively): "—well, we don't have an advertising budget and like Atelier, we don't have a sign out front and—"

female voice: "Look, I don't know how you got my number, but I certainly did not leave you a message. I'd say you've been pranked. Please don't call again"

abrupt thud as receiver slams down onto phone

male voice to someone in room with him: "She doesn't need a table for Friday night after all. Some sort of mix-up I guess"

------------

call #4, 4:35pm, May 25, 2018: sound of phone ringing followed by sound of nearby female voice: "Don't answer it"

(phone rings again)

male voice: "Why not?"

female voice (nearby): "Because you'll just be fooled again. Face it, people are targeting you"

male voice (louder, to be heard over sound of phone ringing): "Don't be silly. I've got to get it. What if it's important?"

sound of receiver being lifted off phone, then male voice (apprehensively): "Hello?"

female voice (a bit tinny because it's coming through telephone receiver speaker):  "Hi there. Joan and I were wondering if the two of you could come for dinner on Friday night"

male voice (muffled because receiver is covered): "It's not another prank call! It's Linda, inviting us to dinner"

female voice nearby (surprised): "Really??"

male voice (warm now, more relaxed): "Dinner on Friday would be wonderful!  We'd love to come! What can we bring?"

female voice (pausing as if to think): "What about some... um... pickled pigs' feet"

male voice (confused): "Pickled pigs' feet?"

female voice: "Four of them, one for each of us. Size six"

shriek of laughter in background, then second female voice interjects from distance: "Yes, and tell him to to put some socks and shoes on them to make them more presentable!"

raucous laughter, then sound of receiver being slammed down onto phone, followed by dial tone

male voice (shaken; volume fades as he hangs up phone): "Well I think we just got pranked agai—" click.

------------------------------

UPDATE, 9am Wednesday May 23, 2018Thursday night's protest rally on the street in front of Tweedsmuir's has been cancelled because of a scheduling conflict with the Capitals-Lightning playoff game.  Go Caps!

---------------

MORE BREAKING NEWS, 11:51am Tuesday May 22:  The leaders of W.O.W (the Waiters Of W.A.R.) have just released a news bulletin pointing out that W.o.W.'s latest communiqué conveniently neglects to mention that their P.E.A.S. Plan, after purportedly calling for Equality, then promises Ascendency ("Males are relegated to waiting tables and women, as Kitchen Managers, get to boss them around"), and after that, Supremacy ("Males are assigned to dishwashing duties only and will bring us cafè lattes in bed every morning á la Zennnnn)".  W.O.W. is calling on its marchers to lock arms in front of Tweedsmuir's to prevent the delivery of any pizzas. 

#SayNoToSegregation, #Inclusiveness, #NoJusticeNoPizza

-----------------

BREAKING NEWS, 11:15am Tuesday May 22Organizers with W.o.W. (the Waitresses of Westboro) have sent W.O.W. (the Waiters Of W.A.R.) a sharp rebuke, saying that no member of W.o.W. will be allowed to step outside on Thursday night, "with or without pizza". To underscore their determination, the leaders of W.o.W. have reissued what they call their "fair and reasonable" P.E.A.S. Plan.  The plan calls for a continuance of their Partnership ("with all waiters and other male kitchen staff"), and it affirms their commitment to the concept of Equality ("Males and females will share cooking duties"). 

---------------

UPDATE, 10:35am Tuesday May 22, 2018:  W.O.W (the Waiters Of W.A.R.), which is organizing Thursday night's massive street demonstration and rally on Tweedsmuir Avenue, announced this morning that as a gesture of good will, demonstrators and protesters have agreed to share their beer and potato chips with any partiers who step outside Tweedsmuir's on Thursday night to show common cause with the protesters. Partiers are asked to bring with them as many pieces of pizza as will fit in their pockets.

-----------

Anti-Segregation Demonstration & Rally to protest Tweedsmuir's 'No Males Allowed' policy!!!  ALL genealogies, genres and groups are welcome: young or old, big or little, blond/brunette (or bald), one X chromosome or two!

Why join the demonstration?  To publicly proclaim that males and females should be allowed to mix freely together, sharing washrooms, water fountains and even... pizzas.  It's 2018, folks.                     

When:  Thursday night, May 24, 6pm                 

Where: street in front of Tweedsmuir's Pizza Palace

n.b.: at 5:45pm, a few of us are going to grab a case of beer at the LCBO next to Loblaws; Ken is also planning to bring a few bags of potato chips to share during the demo. See you there!

------------

On Thursday night, May 24 2018, Tweedmuir's will be opening its doors for a Pizza Party, in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday.  Please note: Females Only.  Males can wait in cars outside (no idling; engines and car radios off please).

----------------------------------------------

 Modern kitchen technology continues to amaze.  Zennnnn's Ascaso Steel UNO Pro Espresso Maker has not only been making excellent café lattes for years—it's also (after a firmware update two days ago) been eavesdropping on staff conversations at Zennnnn.  Please note that it was hard to transcribe some parts of the following exchanges—audio levels were low, possibly due to a problem with one of the coffee/audio filters but more likely because certain comments seemed to come from either upstairs (possibly a bedroom) or downstairs (an office?):

Thursday, January 25, 2018

female voice (shouting, from a room upstairs):  "The café latte is [garbled] awful morning! What the [unclear] did you do to it!!?"

male voice:  "Pardon me?"

sound of cup clinking on saucer as slippered feet pad down stairs, followed by female voice (that gets louder as slippers pad into kitchen):  "The milk in the latte tastes curdled. Yeeuck!"

male voice: "I'll get a new carton from Produce Depot and make you another. No charge"

(slam of door, sound of Volvo starting, tires squealing)

..................................

Sunday, February 4, 2018

female voice:  "Great! Someone left the milk carton out on the counter again last night!"

male voice (coming up stairs from basement): "Did you say something?"

female voice:  "Look.  It's simple.  After you've finished frothing the milk, would you please remember to put the carton back in the refrigerator?  We've had too much milk go bad, ever since the kitchen reno.  Milk spoils if it's not refrigerated!  You've got to refrigerate after you froth. Got it??!"

male voice (volume fading as he pads back downstairs):  "Of course, yes. Froth, then refrigerate, froth then fridge, froth-fridge, froth-fridge, froth-fridge..."

female voice (sighs loudly, then shouts after him): "Okay, I'm putting the carton in the refrigerator, so THAT'S where you'll find it tomorrow morning!"

..................................

Monday, February 5, 2018 7:30am

male voice (shouting from bottom of stairs): "Honey, I want to make you your latte but I can't find the milk!"

female voice (muffled, from under covers in upstairs bedroom):  "It's in the [unclear] refrigerator"

male voice (shouting):  "Pardon me??!"

(sound of snoring)

..................................

Monday, February 5, 2018 8:00am:

sound of slippered feet padding down stairs followed by female voice (that becomes more clear as feet enter kitchen):  "We need to talk about you and the refrigerator"

male voice:  "I love our refrigerator.  It's so unobtrusive and inconspicuous.  Love it."

female voice (businesslike):  "And where is this refrigerator that you love so much?"

male voice (snorts with forced laughter):  "Next to the sto—well not right next to it, of course, but close to the stove"

female voice:  "No. It's not"

male voice (speaking more rapidly):  "Did I say stove? I meant sink or not sink but, well... to be precise we'll need to validate the data using some kitchen work-triangle informatics, okay?  Bear with me here. The stove and the sink are at the two vertex points of an isosceles triangle. Which means our refrigerator is between those two points, at the axis of symmetry which would place it [pointing unconfidently to middle of kitchen floor]... there!"

female voice:  "No. It doesn't"

male voice (completely bewildered now but carrying on recklessly):  "—but of course, kitchen trigonometry can sometimes be overly complex, so—"

(pause. Only sound is of female's fingers drumming irritably on the counter)

male voice (quavering):  "—so I'll keep it simple for you, and saaayyyy"...

(long breath, taken in and then held)

female voice (after a 10-second wait):  "Yes?"

male voice (weakly, between coughs, after breath is suddenly expelled):  "—that it's in the kitchen [cough]... it's definitely [cough] somewhere in the kitchen"

female voice:  "No. It's not"

(silence)

female voice (gently):  "You really don't know where our refrigerator is, do you?"

(silence)

.......................................................

It seems that the Instant Pot™ at the Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse has not only been braising, stewing and sautéing... it's also been backing up kitchen conversations to the Cloud.  You can listen to them here, or read transcripts stored at edenstreet@instantpot.cloud.  Here's an example for those of you without an internet connection:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

(sound of chewing, then sound of food being spit onto plate)

female voice:  "Ummm, I don't think the trout is cooked all the way through"

male voice (feigning surprise): "Really?"

female voice:  "Yes really! Yet again!!!"

male voice (after long pause): "Well, at least I think I finally know why it happens"

female voice: "Oh do enlighten me!  So I can enlighten our customers!  We all want to know!"

male voice: "Well it could be that, all these years when I've gone to pick up a new tank, I've been selecting the light tanks, the ones that don't weigh so damn—"

female voice (interrupting): "—but those are people's empty tanks"

male voice: "Okay! Maybe they are!  But the other tanks are so ridiculously heavy. You try lugging a full one around you'll see what I mean"

(silence)

male voice: "You don't want me to hurt my back do you?"

(silence)

...............................................

Google Home Assistant has been uploading conversations that have been taking place at La Bufala to the Cloud.  Here are just a few recent transcripts (to get more go bufala@homeassistant.cloud (password is Eightfold Path):

Tuesday, January 16, 2018:  male voice shouting from basement: "Hon, I put my purple t-shirt in the dryer, but I can't find my (garbled)"

female voice from kitchen: "—your what?"

male voice from bottom of basement stairs: "My purple underwear!"

female voice: "They're with your purple socks, in the laundry bin!"

(sound of footsteps coming up stairs)

male voice (louder now): "Darn. So I won't be able to wear them to the theatre tonight"

female voice: "But do you really need to wear your purple underwear to the NAC?  They're not particularly dressy, you know"

male voice: "But they match the t-shirt"

female voice: "Well you know that and I know that but no one at the theatre would be able to see your purple underwear anyway. They're under your trousers"

male voice: "But I was planning to wear my trousers down low. Have you seen that look?"

(silence)

.....................................

Wednesday, January 17, 2018:  female voice: "Someone from the Shambhala Meditation Centre in Vermont just called"

male voice: "They want me back already?!  For another retreat?!!"

female voice: "Ah no, they—"

male voice (interrupting): "—I froze the last time! Tell them I'm going to be away meditating at a Temple in Kathmandu"

female voice: "It was the Shambhala Security Director, who said they have nighttime video footage of you stealing seeds and nuts from the bird and squirrel feeders"

male voice (after long pause): "I didn't bring enough food, and when I trudged through the snow to the kitchen and asked for some food they told me I wasn't allowed to talk and pretended not to hear me"

female voice: "So you took nuts that were meant for the squirrels, thereby punishing the squirrels that might have been people in their past lives who are already being punished by having to come back as squirrels.  Meditate on THAT!"

.....................................

Friday, January 19, 2018, 2;30pm:  sound of phone being hung up, followed by male voice:  "That was a message from Vive la bouffe!'s Event Manager telling us they have a table reserved for us"

female voice:  "How lovely!"

male voice: "Yes, but—"

female voice: "—for next week?  Or the week after?"

male voice: "Ummm, for tonight"

female voice: "Wtf !!! Who reserves a table for someone and tells them on the day of!"

male voice: "Vive la bouffe! apparently"

female voice, volume fading as she storms out of kitchen: "I don't know how that place stays in business" (sound of banging door, footsteps on stairs followed by sound of hand scooping nuts out of bowl followed by chewing sounds).

.........................................................

January 2, 2018:  Unfortunate, inconvenient and yes, downright hostile conditions are keeping most Westboro restaurant owners and customers inside these days, huddled under blankets in front of their television screens.  And I'm not even talking about the frigid mass of polar air that has recently given Westboro the dubious distinction of being "the coldest restaurant district in the world". 

I'm talking about P.E.A.S. (the Partnership for Equality, Ascendancy and finally Supremacy) which recently, in league with Sixty-Five Plus magazine, published and distributed (to every home in Westboro) thousands of shocking pink election posters.  For those who might have transferred the magazine and poster to the recycling bin without reading it, here are the new P.E.A.S. Plan Promises:  1. "All restaurant customers will henceforth have the freedom to write their own reviews";  2. "Wages for all servers, chefs and sommeliers will be doubled"; and 3. "Westboro restaurant owners will be able to leave their restaurants closed for months at a time without fear of reprisal".  Really?!?  (Where's the fun in that!!?)  Despite the chilling effect all of this has had on the local café & bistro scene over the holidays, the dining calendar for 2017 needed to be completed!  And here it is—

On Friday, December 22, 2017 eight customers, two of them from as far away as Brighton, England, enjoyed a dinner of Red Curry with Chicken at Vive la bouffe!.  Hardly proper 'pub' fare, but on the whole (if only the Red Curry could have been replaced by Bangers and Mash and Pickled Walnuts substituted for the Mixed Greens) "brilliant".

Two days later, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 24, Tweedsmuirs hosted a spectacularly successful (standing-room-only) Open House, featuring a beautifully roasted Spiral Ham accompanied by (who knew you could buy them at Farmboy?) Pickled Walnuts.  It's important to point out that, in the spirit of Christmas, Tweedsmuirs' owner allowed a few token males to attend the festivities (she needed one of them to carry the ham in from the car, and another to carve it. A third was needed to open the jar of pickled walnuts).

Later that day (on Christmas Eve) a group of seven diners gathered at bouffe! to eat, well, I didn't want to say it but I will anyway, Leftover Red Curry with Chicken.  Our staff writer had too much to drink (hence, no reviews), but when pressed, remembered overhearing a conversation at the next table in which two duffers were going round and round trying to figure out if they'd attended Expo '67 in Montreal and if so, what year that would that have been.  Lady at another table finally enlightened them (1967, quelle surprise) and then started to reconstruct, in precise detail, every minute of her own visit there as a child.  It was a fascinating story (Oh the Sixties!) that was interrupted only when the kitchen staff got a long-distance call from one of bouffe!'s ex-waitresses—on holiday in New Zealand—wishing them a Merry Christmas.

The very next night, on December 25, 2017, bouffe! was the scene of yet another dinner party—this time a classic Christmas Dinner—serving up Roast Turkey with all the trimmings.

Two days after that, on the evening of Wednesday December 27, eight guests enjoyed a superb Coq au Vin, cooked up by the Morris GastroPub's Chief Cook and erstwhile Mechanic.  Read the reviews here.

Friday, December 29 2017 takes us two hundred kilometers east of Westboro to Montreal's trendy Un Petit Peu, for a light luncheon of soup and assorted accoutrements.  Customer comments are already coming in.

Finally, on the night of Sunday, December 31 2017, a New Year's Eve gala at Westboro's own La Bufala.  Despite temperatures in the minus-forties that no doubt kept other, more timid partiers wrapped up in blankets at home, the gathering at Bufala was a large, lively, and boisterous one.  Read reviews here.

.......................................................

URGENT NEWS:  As day broke on December 21, 2017, Democracy Now! agitators (shouting slogans such as 'Ich Bin Ein Reviewer!', 'MY Meal, MY Analysis!' and 'Critics 'R Us!') finally breached the walls of Westboro's hippocampus, even as battle-hardened Salivation Army troops set about restocking their mess kits with every knife, fork and spoon they could get their hands on (Christmas Dinner is just 4 days away!). 

Then at 10:37am est the W.A.R. Office sent out a heartbreaking telegram announcing that the foodhippo website—also known, disparagingly, as the 'Wall of Words' (but perhaps even more aptly described as "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"*)—had finally fallen.  This will be our final news release, as we are about to be escorted out of our offices by some burly Democracy Now! security guards.  R.I.P. HIPPO.

*William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

La Bufala will be closed from Tuesday December 26 to Saturday December 30 (2017) so that management can implement new food safety measures. During that time an ex-waitress (now working in New York City) will be attending numerous Menu Tasting Workshops.

One's head hurts contemplating the difficult questions being posed to our resident hippo (see ASK THE HIPPO here).  The hippo does his (her?) best to answer, but how can he (or she) be expected to know what to say to someone who wants to stack dishes (but isn't allowed to), or to someone else who thought his wife was tuning in to a new Netflix show, only to discover that it's a racy Dating & Hookup website?!!

On the frigidly cold evening of Sunday, December 17, FOMO>nomo served steaming bowls of French Onion Soup and Charcuterie Plates (featuring Farm Boy Sausages & Rösti Potatoes) to seven guests.  Reviews are already pouring in, even as word leaks out that FOMO is closing for three weeks while its owners tour New Zealand (in search of new Sauvignon Blanc varieties).

Last Sunday (December 3, 2017), after grudgingly noting that both dining-room tables at La Mangeiore Pic-Bois were packed with cheerful customers, La Bufala's waitress muttered something about staying open this coming New Year's Eve (December 31, 2017).  It will mean working on a stat, but sometimes you just don't have a choice.

UPDATE, Tuesday December 5, 2017: After a tense stand-off, the owners of Quebec's La Mangeoire Pic-Bois have agreed to be listed on foodhippo.  Twenty-four hours after telling W.A.R.'s photographer that he (or she) would have to wait to take photos (needed for Pic's official foodhippo restaurant listing) "until some sunny day, warm but not too warm, and with a nice breeze but no bugs", Pic-Bois's negotiator sent W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs) a 330x220 pixel photo of their famous Baked Spiral Ham, which is really all that foodhippo's graphic artist needed anyway.  The MangeoirePic-Bois page is now up-and-running, and reviews of last Sunday's lunch (Sunday, December 3, 2017) have been posted!

La Mangeoire Pic-Bois served a formal luncheon on Sunday, December 3, 2017.  Nine Westboro diners made the drive north to enjoy a delicious meal followed by a relaxing walk alongside the Gatineau River.  Early reviews are already trickling in, but as of today (Tuesday, December 5, 2017) THERE'S NO PLACE TO POST THE REVIEWS!  Foodhippo's webmaster is currently conducting round-the-clock talks with Pic-Bois's owners, hoping to reach a deal that would add an official Pic-Bois page to foodhippo.ca, thereby pulling the secluded Quebec bistro into W.A.R.'s ever-expanding orbit.  But according to unnamed sources, Pic-Bois's liberal-minded leaders have concerns about W.A.R.'s 'undemocratic values' (e.g., the public at large is not permitted to write reviews and post Notices like this one), not to mention its labour policies (waiters and waitresses at W.A.R. restaurants haven't been paid in..., well, actually, they've never been paid).  As things stand, Pic-Bois has delayed any further talks until some, unspecified, "sunny day". Stay tuned!

The Partnership for Equality, Ascendency (and finally) Supremacy will be meeting at 6:30pm on Thursday, November 30 (2017) at Tweedsmuirs to discuss anti-W.A.R. strategies.  Pizza will be served.  Please note that males will have to wait outside in their cars.

The Grey Cup game had to be halted briefly on Sunday afternoon, November 26 (2017), when the chef and waiter from La Bufala wandered onto the football field pushing a shopping cart—just as Saskatchewan Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was attempting to pass on 3rd down and 7.  Whistles were blown, penalty flags were thrown and the crowd booed as the referees ushered the two restaurant workers (who are still suffering from jet lag, and thought they were shopping in nearby Whole Foods) off the field.

W.A.R.'s informant in the Seafood Department at Produce Depot was right (see All Quiet on the Westboro Front below)—Eden Street's Fishmonger did indeed buy salmon there the other day and, as our radar signals suggested, he then, after brining it, smoked the salmon in his filing cabinet. The finished product showed up that very weekend at Vive la bouffe! on the evening of Saturday November 25, 2017. See Recent Events entry in segment below for more information and links to reviews.

All Quiet on the Westboro Front.  Or... mostly quiet. W.A.R. sources, using Thermal-Imaging Binoculars, confirmed that Pälegg's BBQ was briefly turned on Tuesday night (November 21, 2017), but "no restaurant patrons were seen coming or going and the trout under surveillance was eaten by Pälegg's waiter and waitress".  W.A.R. informant in the Seafood Department at Produce Depot reports that Eden Street's Fishmonger was in the store yesterday (Wednesday, November 22) purchasing salmon filets; radar signals coming out of the Eden kitchen this morning (Thursday, November 23) suggest that the salmon is now soaking in brine. In the past, the smoking of salmon has indicated that a dinner party is imminent. UNLESS HE FREEZES IT.  More to report:  A helicopter landed at The Liver Spot at 4am Friday morning (November 24) to drop off some fresh livers.  That means more pâté, people.  As well, our cryptologists have intercepted emails coming out of Tweedsmuirs that suggest that a 'Patriarchy-Free™ Pizza Party' is being planned.  Stay tuned for more information!

BREAKING NEWS, November 22, 2017:  After talks between W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs) and B.O.R. (Bistros on Richmond) broke down—over W.A.R.'s unequivocal demand that the Right to Serve Yourself and the Right to Second Helpings be honoured at gezellig, The Savoy and FratelliW.A.R. has been declared (once again). 

Battle strategies are being kept under wraps, but according to well-placed sources the plan is that some Friday or Saturday night "very soon", troops will be mustered and W.A.R.'s fearsome SALIVATION ARMY will make a 7pm raid on either The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse, Vive la bouffe!, or La Bufala.  Early stratagems had called for an all-out assault on one of B.O.R.'s restaurants, but they make you pay for your meal and W.A.R.'s generals don't like to have to do that.  Stay tuned for more 'News from the front lines'.

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From Our Archives:  

Eager followers of foodhippo.ca might be interested to learn that restaurant-goers were commenting on food, drink, presentation and ambience long before the invention of the smartphone.  Bytown's first restaurant reviews were written about Mrs. McArfle's Taproom & Brothel, which opened in 1832 on a derelict strip of farmland now occupied by The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse.  At this humble establishment, decorated military captains ate and drank alongside sawdust-covered lumberjacks and waterlogged canal workers.  Here are just a few of the reviews that were published between 1832-58 in the About Town section of The Bytown Advocate:

"dyspepsia anyone?" 

LarryInLowerTown:  Why in the world would Mrs. McArfle seat a rowdy group of Irishmen right next to a table of French-Canadians FGS!  (editor's note: In a day and age when restaurant reviews were written in longhand with quill pens, acronyms were indispensable. 'FGS!' denoted 'For God's Sake!').  Of course a fight broke out, just as dessert was being served. The cause of the ruckus?  It seems no one could agree on who had ordered what (hard to understand given that there was just one choice on the dessert menu, a Suet Pudding).  Left before finishing my plate of Loon & Kidney Pie and did not leave a tip! (editor's note: Suet Pudding—a soggy amalgam of old bread crusts, water and suet—was a popular treat in Pre-Confederation British North America)    

16 out of 22 found this review helpful

"well-seasoned chops"

ColWhy:  A delightful repast, with our olfactory senses regaled by the delicious fumes wafting up from Mrs. McArfle's "well-seasoned chops" (note: Mrs. McArfle herself smells more like mouldy potatoes GWM!), not to mention the sour odours emanating from the ubiquitous pints of the house ale. Will be back! (editor's note: in the 1800s, Bytowners used 'GWM' as a handy abbreviation for 'Guffawing With Mirth')

7 out of 12 found this review helpful

"Abstinence? Ummm, not for this crowd"

LumberBaron4ever:   Was happily dining on Beef-steak with Roots when a Temperance advocate rose to her feet and loudly demanded that the sale of all liquor be banned, except for medicinal purposes. At which point a man who called himself a doctor (pretty sure he was a canal worker) stood up and proclaimed that since everyone there had probably been exposed to cholera, he was hereby prescribing two pints of booze for each man, woman and child. At which point everyone ordered a round of Mrs. McArfle's Rideau Rapids Ale (so-named because of the looseness of the bowels that is caused either by the ale, or the cholera bacteria, or both).

18 out of 27 found this review helpful

"hair in my quesadilla"

RichmondLanding_foodie:  Was enjoying my meal when I observed a human hair in my quesadilla.  W,pt was that all about!?!  (editor's note: 'W,pt' = 'What, pray tell?')

19 out of 31 found this review helpful

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Most W.A.R. restaurants remained in lockdown mode this weekend, November 17-19, 2017, while the last traces of the cholera virus were scrubbed from pots, pans, cutlery and counters.   La Bufala attempted to open, but its advertised dinner hours—6:30am for Friday dinner and 7:00am for Saturday (Bufala's jet-lagged owners are having trouble getting back onto Eastern Standard Time after holidaying in Australia for a month)—didn't suit Westboro's über-traditional restaurant-goers who, according to an unimaginative group of them waiting to get into gezellig on Saturday night, "prefer eating dinner in the evening rather than first thing in the morning".

The only W.A.R. restaurant to successfully open—for a small private function on Sunday November 19—was Vive la bouffe!.  Over a meal of Spaghetti Carbonara, Mixed Greens and Lemon-Poppyseed Cake, REX's chef revealed his plans to import Spanish olives, Morris GastroPub's mechanic (and cook) announced the purchase of a new delivery vehicle, and FOMO<nomo's waitress complained about her old delivery vehicle (that has a flat tire and that drips water on the driver after every rainstorm).  The high point of the evening came when bouffe!'s Kitchen Manager solved the riddle of a mysterious photo-portrait of her peripatetic brother-in-law:  the exotic setting, which he claimed was a sidewalk in front of the world famous Hilton Abu Dhabi Conference Centre, turns out to be a rather threadbare diorama in a Persian Cultural Centre two blocks from the brother-in-law's NYC apartment.  Salem maeelaykum! 

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11pm, Monday, November 13  (2017):  See Recent Events (segment below Upcoming Events) for new Notice re tonight's Welcome Home dinner at La Bufala. 

(n.b. reviews are already being posted!)

3pm, Monday, November 13, 2017:  REMINDER—Party kicks off tonight at The Buffalo (given tonight's menu, it seemed like a good idea to finally correct the (mis)spelling of La Bufala) with a 6:30pm smudging ceremony in the dining room.  Apps will then be served, followed by Buffalo Burgers, etc. Don't be late!

November 9, 2017: Wang Wei, driver and guide for 魁北克古城深度遊 (Forever Happiness Seniors Bus Toursreports that he and his 46 sightseers—who will be arriving in Ottawa this weekend to attend the 'Canadian Fall Colours' event—saw La Bufala's dinner notice for 6:30pm, Monday, November 13 on foodhippo.ca, AND HAVE ACCEPTED!  (note: they will be spending the night, and have booked all the bedrooms on the second floor, along with the new Master Suite in the basement).  期待晚餐!

n.b.: Vive la bouffe!'s sous-chef wants it known that he offered to hold the Welcome Home party at bouffe!, until he was reminded by Ottawa's Department of Health that his restaurant is still under quarantine.  Housekeeping reminder 1:  Would all of you who have borrowed pots and pans from La Bufala please return them by the night of the party?  Housekeeping reminder 2:  And whoever signed out the purple t-shirt that is part of Bufala's concierge uniform, please bring it back as well (washed and ironed please!).

A Welcome Home dinner party will be held for Bufala's chef and waiter on Monday November 13, 2017 at La Bufala (see "The polls have closed" announcement seven entries below).  As soon as the two restauranteurs, who have been holidaying in Australia, let slip to friends that they are returning to Ottawa on Tuesday, November 14, W.A.R.'s planning staff got to work, organizing appetizers (Lamb Shish Kebabs), mains (Buffalo Burgers) and dessert (Mincemeat Pie).  The exact time and date for the festivities was harder to establish, given the millions of miles and multiple time zones that will have to be traversed by the travelling twosome, but W.A.R.'s strategists eventually determined that because Australia is exactly 24 hours ahead of Ottawa, November 14th is actually the 13th here in Westboro. So come one and come all, on Monday November 13, 2017, to Welcome Home our Bufala colleagues!

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PUBLIC NOTICE, Thursday, November 2, 2017:  All restaurants in the W.A.R. zone have been quarantined by the Department of Health "until further notice".  According to Ottawa mayor Jim Watson, what at first appeared to be a bad flu bug brought to Westboro by Le Jardin's peripatetic groundskeeper may instead be cholera.  It seems that in his recent research into 'The History of Food Commentary in Pre-Confederation Upper Canada', foodhippo's staff writer may have dislodged some long-dormant cholera bacteria from mouldy notes penned by a sickly canal worker in the early 1830s.  Be assured that W.A.R. waiters and waitresses are receiving top-notch medical care, and that our cafés and bistros will reopen as soon as the outbreak is contained.

URGENT, Tuesday October 31, 2017:  Yesterday's blustery winds took down part of a tree behind La Bufala and one of the falling branches severed Bufala's cable connection.  Consequently, tonight's NFL Game Night Gala (Patriots-Eagles) has been moved a few blocks east from Bufala to The Clocktower. See you there!

The Frosty Mug will be Open For Business on Sunday, October 29, 2017.  Dinner patrons are asked to arrive promptly at 6pm.  There will be one seating only, as The Mug plans to close by 7 or 7:30pm because "it's a school night" (code for: owners want to watch a full half-hour of Netflix before bed).

Whoa whoa whoa! All the cloak-and-dagger 'early reviews' of Barristers are getting out of hand.  Folks, I get that you're excited about this weekend's 2017 Launch Party, but no one's going to get credit for being the "First to Review" Barristers until they've actually been to Barristers.  Or to put it even more clearly, been to dinner at Barristers.  It's not enough to make a few typo-riddled observations from the bushes outside. Capeesh?

Barristers has announced its official '2017 Grand Openingfor Saturday night, October 28, 2017Reviews are already starting to trickle in.  [editor's note: not sure how this can be—dinner party is still three days away]

The polls have closed, the ballots have been counted and... (drumroll please)—W.A.R. members have voted overwhelmingly to throw a dinner party at La Bufala some time (exact date and time t.b.a.) before Bufala's chef and waiter return from their holiday.  It might not seem fair, in a way, to throw a dinner party there while our two beloved colleagues are away, but they were outvoted fair and square.  That's how democracy works, people.  Stay tuned for more information...

URGENT, September 17, 8:29pm:  With the polls closing by end of day tomorrow (8pm, October 18) we can offer the following update—the tally so far shows 2 votes against holding a rogue dinner party at La Bufala (not surprisingly, those ballots were cast by Bufala's chef and waiter), and 18 votes in favour of a party.  So far, one voter has come out against the idea of serving meat, while seven would-be partiers would like to see beef on the menu, four would like to try buffalo ("IT'S ABOUT TIME THIS PLACE SERVED BUFFALO!!!" one voter scrawled in all-caps on his ballot), and six people are opting for chicken, including—and this is either one of those Margin of Error polling anomalies, or a spelling error (he meant to write chickpeas?)—Bufala's waiter.  Five people have offered to bring salads and three can bring desserts.  There's still time to vote so, if you haven't yet done so, get out there and cast your ballot!  

NOTICE: PUBLIC OPINION POLL UNDERWAY

Ipsos-Reid and Pew Research are conducting a poll in Westboro, Ottawa. Based on a careful reading of the latest (bottom of the page) entry posted on ASK THE HIPPO, survey participants are asked to answer the following three questions:

1. would you attend a dinner party thrown at a trattoria without the knowledge of the trattoria's owners? (i.e., while they're holidaying in Australia?)

2. should the chefs throwing the dinner party serve beef, or buffalo, or stick to vegetarian dishes?

3. can you bring a salad or a dessert?  Advise waiter at The Eden Street Café of your choice.

n.b. Please send answers to Ipsos-Reid/Pew, ℅ foodhippo's moderator no later than Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

See Recent Events (below, halfway down page) for a recap of W.A.R. skirmishes that took place on Thanksgiving Weekend (October 7-9) at Vive la bouffe!, The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse, bouffe-nord and The Morris GastroPub.

The Fall 2017 Restaurant Season has finally arrived in Westboro.  Things got off to a rollicking start on Friday night (September 22) when a party of 14 converged on Pälegg (see reviews here). The action continued the very next day at noon (Saturday, September 23) as six hot and hungry guests arrived for an out-of-town Dejeuner Sur la Dock at bouffe-nord (no reviews, sorry); a few hours after that, Zennnnnn served BBQ'd Chicken á la Marinade to eight dinner guests (no reviews because our reviewer wasn't there, but we feel obliged to report that a few frantic customers called the foodhippo hotline after the meal to ask how Zennnnn keeps food from spoiling without a refrigerator).  The very next day (Sunday, September 24) another Lunch & Spa at bouffe-nord (see first reviews here) for an indeterminate number of pampered patrons (n.b. the exact number can't be pinned down because even though some photos taken at the event feature 7 grinning customers, other photos show 12 or 13—some of whom look eerily the same btw).

It should be noted that not every W.A.R. restaurant has seen fit to open its doors so far this season.  On Saturday night, any customers hoping to eat at La Bufala had to go home hungry because Bufala's chef and waiter, who were determined to eat A.B.B. (Anywhere But Bufala) put up their trusty 'Closed' sign and headed downtown to dine at Play in the Byward Market (their conclusion: "Food good but servings small and no second helpings.  Won't be back").  The Liver Spot will remain closed, according to The Spot's Offal Consultant, "until foundation repairs are finished (estimated completion date: Spring, 2027)", and The Frosty Mug's proprietors are (still) travelling. Meanwhile, Le Jardin's owners spent the weekend in the Northern Quebec Law Offices of Barristers, preparing a lawsuit against the Province of New Brunswick for "being the scene of two extremely bad summer holidays IN A ROW".  Legal work may prevent both Le Jardin and Barristers from opening for "at least a few weeks, if not months, and possibly never".

UPDATE, September 21, 2017:  Certain pundits are demanding to know why there are no women in the photo accompanying the W.A.RCouncil's recently-released Declaration of W.A.R.. Some of those critics have banded together to release a Declaration of their own that reads, in part: "We, the true chefs of Westboro's best restaurants have formed a new organization, a Partnership for Equality, Ascendency and finally, Supremacy (P.E.A.S. for short)".  P.E.A.S.'s first meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, September 28, 2017 at Tweedsmuir's (note that Tweedsmuir's, like P.E.A.S., has a strict 'No Males Allowed' policy) at which "plans will be laid for achieving our Partnership's goals:  first, Equality (males and females share cooking duties), then Ascendency (males are relegated to waiting tables and women, as Kitchen Managers, get to boss them around), and after that, if all goes according to plan, Supremacy (males are assigned to dishwashing duties only and will bring us cafè lattes in bed every morning á la Zennnnn)".

BREAKING NEWS, September 21, 2017:  A provocative 'Declaration of W.A.R.' handbill has been posted on telephone poles and church doors all across Westboro.  A copy that was nailed to the front door of Ottawa City Hall drew immediate criticism from Mayor Jim Watson, who threatened to withdraw the coveted Safe Consumption Site status for all W.A.R. cafés and bistros.  He noted as an aside that none of the W.A.R. restaurants is zoned for commercial food operation (City of Ottawa Zoning By-law 2008-250 Section 189) and has asked city staff to look into options for closing them down. 

September 14, 2017:  In anticipation of this weekend's W.A.R. conference, to be held Saturday night at The Clocktower (n.b. during conference breaks entertainment will be provided by a standup comedy troupe), a W.A.R. spokesperson has asked Clocktower management to waive any charges for food or drink (to be compatible with W.A.R. restaurant policy).  As well, Eden Street's sommelier has requested that televisions on the walls be tuned to Line of Duty (a gripping BBC crime drama now streaming on Netflix) with the volume turned up loud if the comedy turns out to be ho-hum. And finally, the waiter from Vive la bouffe! is insisting that he be seated behind a post and is also asking Clocktower management for protective custody so that he can't be badgered or harassed by any of the comedians on stage.

NOTICE, September 12, 2017: The owners of Diva's have just announced that Diva's has been closed, and that they plan to open a new restaurant, FOMO<nomo, closer to downtown at Rochester and Spruce Streets.  That location is technically well outside of the W.A.R. (Westboro Association of Restauranteurs) Zone, but FOMO<nomo's CEO pleaded with W.A.R.'s Board of Governors and, out of pity, the Governors are allowing the membership to stand.  FOMO plans to open as soon as kitchen renovations are complete.  The purchaser of the old Diva's property, meanwhile, told foodhippo that she has no plans to reopen (and in fact claims she didn't even know she was buying a restaurant).

The Fall Restaurant Season has arrived in Westboro with less pomp and ceremony than in past years, and in fact, most W.A.R. restaurants are reporting that the number of customers so far in September has dropped (if you leave out employees) to zero.  The problem, according to one observer, is that many W.A.R. cafés and bistros are staying closed so that staff can watch British crime dramas on Netflix.  This isn't just hurting business, it's changing the very ways that W.A.R. personnel behave.  The Kitchen Manager at the Eden Street Café, for example, is insisting that Eden's waiter refer to her as 'Chief Inspector' or 'Marm', and is speaking to customers with an indecipherable West Midlands accent.  Zennnnn's sommelier has been calling anyone who asks where the refrigerator is a "Wanker".  And Vive la bouffe!'s waiter has taken to driving on the left-hand side of the road and screeching to a stop at every red light. 

UPDATE, 11am, Wednesday August 30, 2017:  Even though Eden Street's waiter and waitress are already at the airport, they've generously agreed to cab back into town tonight to meet for a quick beer at The Clocktower on Richmond Road at 7pm.  Come one, come all!  n.b. Unfortunately, some W.A.R. members are out of town—the owners of La Bufala, who are driving back from Nova Scotia, have pulled off the highway to spend a couple of days shopping at the renowned West Edmundston Mall.  One of the The Liver Spot's waitresses is in Kingston, but sends her best, and the maître d' and Kitchen Manager from The Thirsty Mug are in British Columbia for a wedding.

Wednesday August 30, 2017:  For those of you planning to join the gang tonight at D'Arcy McGees (Ottawa Airport location) please note that, as per Canadian Air Transport Security Authority rules, you will have to purchase an airline ticket and be in possession of a valid boarding pass in order to get through security screening (D'Arcy McGees is just past security and to the right, Level 2, Cdn/Int'l Flights).  After raising a pint or two in honour of Eden's peripatetic waiter and waitress, get a refund for your unused ticket at the Air Canada desk on your way out of the airport.

Tuesday August 29, 2017ATTENTION PLEASE: The waiter and waitress at The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse are leaving for Minneapolis or Milwaukee on Friday and have proposed that friends, neighbours and fellow W.A.R. owners and staff meet them for a 'goodbye pint' tomorrow night.  For those who would like to take part—the waiter is asking that we meet at D'Arcy McGees at the Ottawa Airport (pass through Security and turn right) at 7pm, Wednesday August 30.  Some W.A.R. owners were hoping to meet at The Clocktower on Richmond Road but Eden's waiter wants to be at the airport on Wednesday by 4pm so he's in good time for his Friday afternoon flight.

August 25, 2017: Capital Pride organizers have asked the chef at Vive la bouffe! to not wear his chefs whites in this Sunday's Pride Parade, saying that certain community members who've had "questionable meals" at Vive la bouffe! might find it upsetting to see him in his drab and tacky kitchen 'ensemble'.

August 24, 2017: One of the chefs from Westboro's Vive la bouffe! has announced that he will march in this weekend's Capital Pride Parade, "to show solidarity with LGBT restaurant-goers everywhere".

August 23, 2017: As these dog days of summer drag on, most W.A.R. bistros are still closed, with all the lights off and 'No Deliveries' signs scotch-taped to their front and back doors. But 'foodies' need to eat!  And thanks to a few soft-hearted local chefs they've found a way to do it, most recently at Eden Street (June 6), REX (June 18—Shame on bouffe's waiter, btw, for saying the things he said that night!), Diva's (July 24) and Vive la bouffe! (July 25 and 30, August 5, 8, and 12—n.b. most of those dates were reserved by family members of bouffe!'s staff).  Restaurant patrons hoping to get a reservation at La Bufala have been disappointed—Bufala is still closed, and will be until the Receptionist's keyboard has been replaced (the last one was drenched in wine).  Le Jardin, Zennnnnn, Tweedmuirs, Pälegg, The Liver Spot and The Thirsty Mug are 'Closed Until Further Notice' as well.  The Savoy and gezellig are somehow managing to keep regular hours.

August 22, 2017:  Due to an unfortunate medical misadventure,  Le Jardin's waiter and waitress are cutting short their food tour of the Maritimes and heading back to Ottawa.  While recuperating, Jardin's waitress will stay busy preparing menus for the upcoming Fall Restaurant Season (often Westboro's busiest).  

July 23, 2017:  A social media campaign has erupted (#Iampike, #boiledfacedown, #closedowndivas), demanding that Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson close down Diva's, a popular bistro in Hintonburg, after reports surfaced on foodhippo.ca about a particular fish dish served recently by Diva's two chefs.  Digital activists have charged Diva's with contravening Ontario's Freshwater Fish Cooking Guidelines by "boiling a pike face down in a pot of water". An online petition demanding that Diva's be shut down is rapidly 'going viral'.

The list of W.A.R. restaurants that are closed for holidays is growing:  The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse, Zennnn, Tweedmuir's and Vive la bouffe! are all shuttered while their owners, chefs and wait staff take some well-deserved time off.  La Bufala plans to re-open after replacing its wine-damaged computer keyboard (but that might take until September).  A couple of other local bistros (The Liver Spot, Barristers) may have closed as well, but it's hard to know for sure given that they don't seem to have even opened yet in 2017 (and in fact may have quietly gone out of business). 

July 13, 2017:  La Bufala is 'Closed Until Further Notice' after its Receptionist spilled a glass of wine onto the keyboard of the computer used to make reservations.  

Friday June 30, 2017—ATTENTION PLEASE: Le Jardin's groundskeeper has asked that, during tomorrow's Canada Day Party in Jardin's back garden, "... party-goers kindly refrain from doing any digging or even poking a stick into the earth", particularly, he said, "where the soil looks disturbed".  When asked why, he declined comment and directed any further questions to his lawyer (Barristers' waiter).  For those who might be wondering why a normally talkative gardener would suddenly seem so tight-lipped, please see here for a thorough discussion about the possibility that Le Jardin's back garden is being used by a human smuggling operation that needs regular access to a half-acre of peaty, pliable soil, hidden from the street, where gang members can, quote-unquote, "bury the evidence".

Monday June 26/2017, 3:59pm: Le Jardin's groundskeeper has just sent out party invitations, which means the W.A.R. street demonstration planned for July 1 has been officially called off.  Instead of protest signs and billy clubs, attendees should bring an appetizer. 

UPDATE, Monday June 26/2017, 3:50pm: Le Jardin's owners have given in to public pressure and have agreed to host a party on July 1 (Canada Day).  Stand by, please, for more details.

BREAKING NEWS, Monday June 26/2017, 9:01am:  Ottawa mayor Jim Watson has announced new legislation that creates a 'bubble zone' around Le Jardin, effectively banning all street demonstrations within a hundred-metre radius.  The legislation strikes a balance between protecting a restaurant owner's 'Right to Choose' (to throw a dinner party) and everyone else's 'Right to Attend' (a dinner party).

UPDATE, Sunday June 25/2017, 9:44pm:  At an emergency meeting at Pälegg tonight (on the menu: Green Chicken Curry, Mixed Greens) the owners of Eden Street CaféPälegg and Vive la bouffe! made plans to call the owners of Le Jardin to insist on access to their back garden on Canada Day.  If demands for a party, open to the public—or, at least, open to long-standing members of W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs)—aren't met, there will be a demonstration on the street in front of Le Jardin starting at 12 noon on July 1.

W.A.R.'s head office has been inundated with calls from Westboro residents wondering what to do on Canada Day.  Locals need a place to gather, of course, and at least once a year (sometimes twice) people have been able to do just that at Le Jardin.  But will Le Jardin be opening its backyard gate this July 1?  No one seems to know!  Rumour has it that Jardin's owners are checking weather reports every few minutes, and if Environment Canada can guarantee sunny skies on July 1 (Jardin's lawyer, who moonlights as a waiter at Barristers, will be standing by with a draconian subpoena targeting Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips in case of rain), a backyard party might be in the offing!  Stay tuned!

June 4, 2017:  Netflix has announced that it has optioned the rights to a conversation overheard at Le Jardin six nights ago. According to Neflix producer Ørjan Knut Hölden: "Ever since the surprise success of The Case of the Missing Black Mittens (Lined in Red), we've been trolling foodhippo.ca in hopes of turning up another Nordic Noir show concept featuring dark plot twists, nagging customers and morally complex recipes.  Twelve Dead at Wayne's may be exactly what we've been looking for".  Read more here.

Dinner plans at Vive la bouffe! for the night of Friday June 2, 2017 have been confirmed and will go ahead as anticipated.  foodhippo followers please note that there are new reviews for Le Jardin (Monday May 29) and Diva's (Sunday May 28).  We just got word, btw, that Diva's has been sold. Until a new location has been found, the Diva kitchen crew will be joining staff at Vive la bouffe!

Please, people—be careful who you share with on social media!  A member of W.A.R. (Westboro Association of Restauranteurs) has revealed that someone started texting him a few weeks ago asking him to "share salad recipes".  Photos were exchanged (Chickpea Salad, Beet & Arugula Salad, etc.) but eventually, these salad photos weren't "provocative" enough for the anonymous texter—even a soft-lit, shallow-depth-of-field shot of a Simple Greek Salad in a Light Vinaigrette wasn't worth downloading, he (or she) said, because it was "overdressed".  (Ouch!)  Feeling coerced, our beleaguered chef finally sent a snapshot of a completely unadorned plate of Mixed Greens.  That photo ended up on Facebook, along with a racy caption ("Stripped-down... undressed... nothing on it at all!") and, well, another of our Westboro restaurants has been shamed online and is now 'Closed until further notice'.

Vive la bouffe! is planning to hold a dinner party and film screening ("Man of Trees" and the soon-to-be-finished "The Abstractionist") on the night of Friday June 2, 2017.  Formal invitations will be sent out as soon as the final scene for "The Abstractionist", scheduled for next Sunday but somewhat weather-dependent, has been shot.  Everyone stand by please.

May 14, 2017:  The president of the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs has released a statement saying that "his remark about waiters, which some took to be demeaning, was taken out of context". He went on to say that some of his best friends are waiters, and that he expects they'll continue to give him good service ("if they want a tip"). 

May 13, 2017:  The head of W.U.W. (Waiters Union of Westboro) has issued a press release demanding the immediate resignation of the president of the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs "because of his (or her) noxious remark about waiters". The W.U.W. news release went on to say:  "To use the expression common waiter as an insult is unjustified, hurtful and frankly, it won't improve service at our Westboro restaurants (which is already kind of iffy)".  

May 12, 2017: Boiling Over's author has just issued a heartfelt apology to the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs: "I'm very sorry if anyone has been touchy enough to take offence. A lapse in judgement such as that imagined by W.A.R. would be nothing short of deplorable (which is why I'm glad no such lapse ever occurred)".  In his own defence, he went on to say: "If I was forced to follow the old rule to 'Write about what you know', what in god's name could I possibly write about?!!?"  He then thought of a dish he could stake a significant claim to—'Stuff On Rice', something that he and his brothers invented years ago: "Brown three sliced onions with some ground beef, add a can of Campbell's Mushroom Soup, stir, pour on top of rice and Enjoy!"

May 11, 2017: The author of Vive la bouffe! Boiling Over, who also happens to be foodhippo's restaurant critic, has been accused of 'Culinary Appropriation' by the president of W.A.R. (the Westboro Association of Restauranteurs). In the president's words: "Food lovers throughout Westboro have been deeply offended that a common waiter would try to inhabit the life of a chef and food critic, especially given that he can barely cook, let alone write. This self-aggrandizing scribbler has 'borrowed' not just some of our most sacred traditions (drinks first then the meal; everyone out by 9pm so there's still time for Netflix), but also our fashion (chefs whites, that just end up making him look ridiculous), our symbols (a little oval with wavy vertical lines above it, meaning 'pre-heat oven', is used throughout his impenetrable tome), our recipes (so many 'appropriated' recipes it's hard to count them all)... even our traditional songs—see page 247 of Boiling Over for his absurd lyrics to 'Bouffer's Green'".  

April 24, 2017—Meanwhile back at the ranch, A week after our four intrepid chefs took part in a cattle drive at Rancho  La Puerta in northern Mexico, the Ranch Manager is still trying to figure out what went wrong. It seems that:

Many cattle have been impossible to identify because the washable-ink 'branding' applied by one of the chefs has faded away.   The livestock were given prescriptions for various salves and ointments by another one of the chefs, but many of the new health cards obtained by a third chef are already out-of-date because...   some of the bulls are no longer going by the names they were given (Duke, Rambo, Tank, etc.) because they've since 'transitioned' (i.e., were castrated) and are now steers who will only answer to less macho names like Fernando, Juan and José-Luis. 

Because of the confusion, the cattle aren't herding properly and are wandering around aimlessly 100 miles from the ranch. Steak is still not on the menu at La Puerta's 4-star restaurant, and restaurant patrons are up in arms.

April 21, 2017: On that very question of hours of operation, once again, Dimples99 has gone online with an incendiary post questioning the hours of a certain Westboro restaurant. This, despite the uproar he caused the last time he did this (read his regrettable first review here along with reactions and responses), which resulted in the restaurant owners surreptitiously preparing and leaving out on their counter a poisoned Devilled Egg (see here for details) in hopes that Dimples would eat it. It was consumed instead by Le Jardin's lawyer (who got woozy and missed his next three shifts at Barristers, where he moonlights as a waiter).

Breaking News, April 14, 2017: After the application of some bleach to foodhippo's servers, the Canada Food Inspection Agency reports that the outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria has been brought under control.  There are still traces of a very persistent mould (Aspergillus nidulans) but these clusters of spores are limited to just a few places on the website where there's almost never any activity anyway.  

With that, foodhippo.ca is now back online, and the ban on new commentary and reviews has been lifted!

April 12, 2017: Meanwhile back at the ranch... More details are coming to light regarding the four Westboro chefs who are taking part in a cattle drive at a ranch in northern Mexico.  According to a ranch hand who wanted to remain anonymous, one member of the Canadian group has been herding the bulls and cows into separate pens and then feeding only the cows. Another member, who believes that each animal has the potential for enlightenment, is refusing to use the ranch's red-hot branding iron and has instead been relying on a stencil and washable-ink markers.  Yet another of our 'Wild-Westboro' gauchos has been mustering the cattle into a holding pen and making them wait a couple of hours, and only then attending to their aches and pains, while the fourth member of the group has been giving names to each unidentified steer and heifer and getting them proper ID.  All of this has been slowing down the cattle drive to the point where, according to our anonymous source, frustrated diners at the 4-star ranch restaurant haven't been able to order steak for a week, and the four 'wranglers' in question may not be invited back to the ranch.

Notice (April 10, 2017): Vive la bouffe! is operating this week with restricted hours and a simplified menu: Saturday/Sunday—Tofu; Monday—Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce With Linguine; Tuesday—Chickpea Curry; Wednesday—Spaghetti again; Thursday—Tofu again; Friday—Chickpea Curry again.

April 9, 2017, UPDATE: Very little information is filtering back to the foodhippo offices about the work stoppage (walkout?) at Eden Street, La Buffala, Tweedsmuir's and Vive la bouffe!.  All we know is that the head chefs from these bistros are in northern Mexico, at a ranch, so in all probability they're herding and branding cattle by day and eating beans around a campfire at night. Perhaps they will bring back some bean recipes?

April 7-15, 2017: Please note that La Bufala, Eden Street Café, Tweedsmuir's and Vive la bouffe! will be closed while the chefs from those establishments take a much-needed break from their busy kitchens.

Public Health Notice: On Thursday March 23, 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency closed down the foodhippo site because even though the site's webmaster was certain that it would 'go viral', it had barely managed to go 'bacterial' (E. coli 0157:H7). In its first month there were five 'hits' on the website, and it seems that all of them were by the webmaster himself, or herself, or themselves (*see note below). More recent web traffic analytics reveal that foodhippo.ca had been getting even fewer visitors, and the site has now officially gone 'mouldy' (Aspergillus nidulans).

*The foodhippo webmaster, in pursuit of anonymity, avoids binary pronouns and would prefer to be referred to as 'they' or, in person, 'youse'.

Pälegg will be serving appetizers, salads and desserts for 22 guests on Friday night, March  10, 2017, at 7pm.  Patrons are advised to eat a main course at home before coming.

March 2, 2017: Wang Wei, driver and guide for 魁北克古城深度遊 (Forever Happiness Seniors Bus Tours) reports that he and his 46 happy  travellers—who will be arriving in Ottawa on Friday to attend the Red Bull 'Crashed Ice' event—saw The Frosty Mug's dinner invitation on foodhippo.caAND HAVE ACCEPTED!  They will be staying for the Netflix screenings.  期待晚餐!

March 1, 2017:  The Frosty Mug has just announced a 6pm seating on Sunday night, March 5. Guests are asked to arrive on time and leave early as it's a "school night" (code for 'You need to leave now, we want to watch Netflix").

 The Restless Quill is closed while its owners holiday in British Columbia.  The writer who lives in the apartment above the Quill is also out west, working on his 25th (or 26th, or possibly his 27th) book.

  March-February 2017: Zennnn will be closed while its owners tour the Galapagos Islands  and then fly off for another ski holiday  at an alpine resort in the mountains of San Escobar.  Zennnn will re-open... when it re-opens.

Feb. 1, 2017:  The owners of Le Jardin have issued a press release to confirm that their restaurant will be closed for the next five months.  They are on holiday at an exclusive beach resort in San Escobar until February 28th. Upon their return to Ottawa they will be busy catching up on Ellen shows PVR'd during their absence and shovelling snow out of their backyard to get a head start on Spring.  Le Jardin will re-open on July 1.

BREAKING NEWS, FEB. 1, 2017: This month's Golden Hippo has just been awarded to La Bufala's Kitchen Manager for her "Political Activism in the Age of Trump". A few months ago on Election Night, one wag—who watched this well-known healthfoodist (and Buddhist) eat bowl after bowl of potato chips—snidely suggested that she must have been attempting (and I quote) "to end her earthly suffering so that she could be reborn into her next life... as a potato".  She could in this way "go underground" to escape the next four years of Trump. 

But far from turning inward (or downward) to escape the  world's problems, Bufala's Kitchen Manager is facing them head-on at every protest, rally and march that she can find, be it in Washington DC, Ottawa or New York City, etc.  Why she wasn't at the latest anti-segregation demonstration in front of Tweedsmuir's is a bit of a surprise, but she will surely be marching and chanting out on the street next time (instead of sitting comfortably inside, eating pizza).

  On Friday night January 27, 2017, a few 'regulars' were asked to drop by Palegg for questioning (and a meal of BBQ Salmon Marinated in Thai Red Curry Sauce)'The Case of the Missing Black Mittens (Lined in Red)' has still not been solved after four weeks of intense inquiry, but is already being made into a Netflix series.  For those who haven't seen the Netflix trailer—the mittens (hand-knitted in Norway) were last seen at the coat check at La Bufala on December 25, 2016.  After a flurry of accusations and counter-accusations, a Netflix flashback shows Liv Ullman (playing the part of Palegg's Kitchen Supervisor) concealing brown cheese in the mittens in a dramatic attempt to smuggle the cheese out of Norway.  That particular scene turns out to be a 'red herring' though, and after the only other suspect in the case flees Canada for asylum in Colombia, the case goes cold (the herring is later pickled and eaten by Palegg's Kitchen Supervisor).

While on the subject of Scandinavian crime dramas and Netflix—the waiter and waitress at Vive la bouffe! (where a formal dinner was served on Saturday January 28 to honour The Frosty Mug's Maître d' for winning the Golden Hippo) recommend 'Trapped', a crime drama set in a small town on Iceland's frozen coast. 

 Barristers is in lockdown while its two Superintendents visit Colombia to meet with Brigadier General Jorge Luis Ramirez Aragon (Director of Colombia's Instituto Nacional Penitenciario y Carcelario (INPEC) to hold talks on the subject of penitentiary food recipes and 'How to Deal with Difficult Clientele'.  No word, yet, regarding if or when Barristers will open its Westboro branch in 2017.  While in Colombia, Barristers's lawyer interrogated the lone Canadian suspect in 'The Case of the Missing Black Mittens (Lined in Red)'.

 The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse will be closed until January 28, 2017.  ES’s Kitchen Manager is attending a Food Conference in Mexico in hopes of updating ES’s menu in time for Canada’a 150th birthday celebrations.  At the same time, Eden Street’s Master Salmon Smoker will be in rehab.  Not, as it turns out, for his well-known coke addiction, but instead (and now Eden Street regulars will understand why there hasn’t been any smoked salmon on the menu recently) because of his risky 'habit' of smoking his salmon 'hand-rolled' and unfiltered, in an attempt to inhale as much Omega-3 as possible.  After a recent overdose (he was growing scales), rehab became the only option.

 According to Zennnnn’s maître d’, Zennnn will be closed until the end of January 2017.  The owners are on a ski vacation, this time at an exclusive alpine resort in San Escobar.

Warning signDec. 31, 2016, 9:05am: High Alert/Code Hippo—this cryptic note was found early this morning in Le Jardin's paper recycle box (names have been redacted on the advice of foodhippo's legal counsel):

Dec. 29, 2016:  The foodhippo webmaster has finally finished sifting through the 112 emails and 27 To-Do lists written by the owners of Le Jardin since the launch of foodhippo.ca.  These emails and To-Do lists were marked ‘classified’ but were sent from an unsecured server and were easily phished for (and caught with a Rapala Minnowlure® as bait).  Most of the emails are about Japanese Maples and yoga, but one To-Do list has raised eyebrows—

     - order new shirts online; try on shoes at Gap

     - get icing sugar, and more ingreds. for making more cakes

     - buy poison to sprinkle on Deviled Egg for Dimples99

Dec. 24, 2016: Wang Wei, driver and guide for 魁北克古城深度遊 (Forever Happiness Seniors Bus Tours) reports that he and his 46 'happy  travellers' (from Gwangxi province in southwest China) were looking up 'Where to Eat in Ottawa' on foodhippo.ca, saw Le Jardin's New Year's Eve Party invitation—AND HAVE ACCEPTED!  Their cross-Canada tour, which started in Vancouver on Dec. 10 and brings them to Ottawa on Dec. 24 to experience 'A Parliament Hill Christmas', will now wrap up with 'A Traditional Canadian New Year's Eve' at Le Jardin.  新年快乐!

 Dec. 22, 2016: According to WikiLeaks, the owners of Le Jardin are planning a New Year's Eve bash.  Stay tuned for more details.

 update:  the demonstration in front of Tweedsmuir’s, planned for Thursday night (Dec. 22, 2016) has been postponed because of the cold wintry weather.  EQualityNow has announced that Fairness and Inclusiveness are issues that are too important to be ignored, but that an outdoor rally would be more enjoyable when the weather warms up in the spring.

 EQualityNow is organizing a #SayNoToSegregation rally for Thursday night (Dec. 22, 2016) on the street in front of Tweedsmuir’s.  Demonstrators will join arms (to block the delivery of the pizzas) and chant slogans ('Just Say No to Discrimination, No More Pizza Deprivation!') while waving pro-inclusiveness placards ('Men Are Customers Too!').

 Tweedsmuir's will be hosting a Pizza Party on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016.  (n.b. Males are Not Allowed)

Dec. 12, 2016: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced this morning that Pälegg, Zennnnn and Vive la bouffe! have been officially designated as ’Supervised Consumption Sites’.  Food addicts can safely dine at these restaurants under the care of trained chefs.  These facilities provide clean cutlery and wine glasses in a stress-free environment.  If a customer overeats during first or second course, dessert will be withheld until customer is hungry again.

  To contact foodhippo webmaster with news of an upcoming event, see link at bottom of this page.


Recent Events

On Sunday, July 1 2018, in the midst of the worst heat wave that Westboro has experienced in years, twenty-five party-goers gathered at La Bufala to celebrate Canada Day. Reviews are already pouring in.

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On Friday night, May 18 2018, six visitors to Westboro's own Vive la bouffe! snacked on two delicious amuse-bouche—a Shrimp & Guacamole Dip and Shrimp & Dill Canapes—followed by large plates of Bechamel Sauce.  Read customer reviews here.

On the evening of Saturday November 25, 2017, nine customers descended on Vive la bouffe! to dine on Mushroom Bourguignon and Sweet Potato Quiche and, oh yes, to make a Must-See list of Netflix shows for two baffled and bewildered dinner guests.  Reviews have already been posted.

 

On the evening of Monday, November 13, 2017 a gala affair was held at La Bufala to Welcome Home Bufala's two owners, who have been holidaying for the last four weeks in Australia.  Unfortunately, Bufala's owners missed one of their flights and weren't able to make it to the party.  Reviews have been positive nevertheless.

On Sunday night October 29, 2017, The Frosty Mug provided cold beers, room-temperature paté (courtesy of The Liver Spot) and hot Butternut Squash Lasagne to a large and boisterous crowd.  Three reviews have already been posted.

On Saturday night, October 28, 2017 Barristers kicked off it '2017 Season'  with a sumptuous feast. So far, reaction has been enthusiastic (n.b. any 'reviews' published before the actual dinner event do not count as 'First Reviews').

On Friday, October 20, 2017, world traveller and bon vivant S. Valia read passages from her most recent diaries to a rapt audience at Vive la bouffe!.  Her stories transported listeners from a spa that doubles as a working 'ranch' (cattle drive, anyone?) in northern Mexico to the volcanic peak of Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The dinner 'event', which was publicized on eye-catching posters that had been plastered all over town, pulled in an audience of seven guests, who learned about Self-Awareness ("In  Mindfulness class at the spa I opened the door to a calmer, quieter version of myself but at dinner no one recognized me so I reverted back") and Determination ("We walked and walked! Where were the sherpas??!  Sore feet. Won't be back!").  S. Valia will be back, however... to Vive la bouffe!

Members of Westboro's Honda Car Club gathered for supper (Chickpea Curry, Oven-Roasted Beets, Kale Salad) at The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse  on Saturday, October 14 to talk about  clutch-to-torque ratios and Netflix's Line of Duty where they drive Volvos (eyeroll) on the wrong side of the road.  The evening's only oppressive moment came after dinner, when Eden's barista offered guests hot water instead of coffee.

Thanksgiving Weekend (Oct. 7-9, 2017) was a busy one for W.A.R. personnel.  The campaign got underway on the morning of Saturday October 7 with a brunch at REX (reviews have started to trickle in).  Later that day, gains were made on two fronts simultaneously, with clashes at both the Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse (no idea what they served, if anything) and Vive la bouffe! (Mussels in White Wine, followed by Thai Red Curry).  On Sunday night (October 8), bouffe-nord was the scene of a fierce All-You-Can-Eat Roast Turkey Offensive (so far, just one overly-long W.A.R. report has been filed).  Completing the mission, on the evening of Monday October 9, a surprise attack on a Prime Rib Roast (featuring a Yorkshire Pudding) at The Morris GastroPub.  That battle—like the others—was eventually won, but according to a worrisome eye-witness account, the W.A.R. is far from over.

A group of W.A.R. chefs, waiter, waitresses, sommeliers and Kitchen Managers who met on Wednesday evening (August 30, 2017) at The Clocktower on Richmond Road enjoyed their impromptu party, but were somewhat chagrined to be presented with a bill at the end of the evening.  According to one of the partiers, "It kinda ends things on a sour note. Not impressed at all".  When another attendee said "This kind of thing just doesn't happen at any of the W.A.R. restaurants", one wag quietly observed that if people had to pay to attend a get-together at a W.A.R. bistro, "no one would ever go". 

On Monday night, August 28, Le Jardin hosted dinner for seven.  To flavour the chicken, Jardin's chef used a package of 'spices'—an alluring mixture of turmeric, cumin, trinitroglycerin and ammonium nitrate (a savoury ingredient more commonly found in agricultural fertilizers)—purchased at the Aljezeera Market (1101 Wellington West, next to The Record Centre). Read the first reviews here.

On Sunday August 20, 2017, after a catered lunch (quiche and a salad), The Restless Quill's waiter read from his new book of short stories. The presentation was made to an attentive audience of 8 on a floating dock at a private resort in Quebec. After the reading, in the course of a lively Q&A session, The Quill's Kitchen Manager (whose likeness is featured on the new book's cover) was revealed to be the inspiration for many of the waiter's stories, especially those that explore his favorite themes (lust, libido and food).

n.b. This is the waiter's 25th or 26th (or possibly 27th?) book. His last public reading, which went viral, took place on September 21, 2016.

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On Saturday, August 11, 2017, two tourists from Montreal toured the new show at Ottawa's National Gallery of Canada (Early Indigian and Canadian Art) and then waited out a dramatic electrical storm that threatened to ignite the twin steeples of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, just across Sussex Avenue from the Gallery. That notable drama was followed by another—dinner (Caprese Salad, BBQ Salmon with Wild Rice, half a cupcake) at Vive la bouffe!  The relaxed mood was tested only once, when the waiter revealed his stubborn nature ("closed-mindedness" according to one reviewer) when he gently chided one of the dinner patrons who was arguing that mind-reading, crystal-ball gazing and soothsaying are all more accurate and exact than 'boring old-fashioned science'.

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On the evening of Thursday, July 27 2017, Montreal's Un Petit Peu hosted a gala reception for a family of western Canadian Vodka Barons.

Two 'celebrity' chefs from Hey Moose!, Lumsden Saskatchewan's most popular steakhouse, were brought in for the occasion, along with extra kitchen staff from Ottawa's Vive la bouffe!.  Reviews have already started to trickle in.

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Kitchen staff from The Lazy Bay Bistro in Wallace Nova Scotia hosted three seafood dinners, two pork barbecues and one meal of leftovers between July 16 and 21, 2017.  Dinner patrons included two visiting chefs from Ottawa (long-time employees of Westboro's own Vive la bouffe!), a ceramicist and a Professor of Modernity out of Montreal, and a well-known portrait artist native to Fredericton New Brunswick.  Most of the meals were served at the recently updated Lazy Bay Bistro (read the first reviews here), but two suppers were 'historical reenactments' that were charred and served in a two-hundred-year-old kitchen in Advocate Harbour on Cape Chignecto (please note that if Pangea's tectonic plates had broken up just a bit to the left when they detached 200 million years ago, we would have had to travel 5,872 miles east to Africa to enjoy our Cape Chignecto meals, instead of the easy two hour drive west of Wallace along Highway 209).

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On Thursday night, July 13, 2017, REX served dinner for seven in its newly-renovated dining room.  After drinks in the Flower Garden, guests were whisked inside while REX's Grill Chef barbecued the evening's main—Glazed, Cedar-Planked Salmon.  Dinner guests were ecstatic and (see the first reviews here) have already started a campaign to move REX's star rating from 2 to 5 (out of 5)!

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  Le Jardin held its annual Backyard Canada Day Party on July 1, 2017.  Because of recent heavy rains guests had been asked to bring hip-waders and rubber dinghies but at the last minute the party was moved indoors because Le Jardin's back garden sits on unceded land belonging to the Haudenosaunee & Anishinaabe peoples, and Le Jardin's maître d' had forgotten to ask for permission to serve appetizers there.  This fall, btw, a team of Anishinaabe carvers plans to cut down the tri-colour beech and carve it into a ceremonial war canoe.

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On Wednesday evening, June 21 2017, Vive la bouffe! hosted a dinner for the maître d' and Kitchen Manager from Nova Scotia's Lazy Bay Bistro (they are on a recipe-gathering road trip that is taking them through Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick).  On bouffe's menu: Vietnamese Grilled Beef Salad.

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On Sunday night June 18, 2017, REX hosted dinner for seven.  In attendance: the owner of The Morris GastroPub (who roared up to the curb in his red MG convertible), the waiter and waitress from Vive la bouffe! (who arrived without nearly as much fanfare on bicycles) and the two chefs from Diva's.  On the REX menu: a cilantro-laced Guacamole, peppery Radish Halves, succulent BBQ'd Ribs, a colourful Orzo salad and a creamy Coleslaw.  Read new reviews here.

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JUNE 2017 UPDATE: While other W.A.R. owners have had the good sense to close down their restaurants for a month or two (or three) now that the hot weather is here, Vive la bouffe!'s motto has always been 'When you can't stand the heat, get back INTO the kitchen!', and indeed, Vlb has been busy this month. Three successive 'Last Night in Town' goodbye dinners (for Vive's longest-serving waiter) were held on June 7, 8 and 9 respectively, followed by a June 15 Gala (BBQ'd Salmon, Oven-Roasted New Potatoes, Mixed Greens) for the owner of Montreal's exclusive 'Un Petit Peu'

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June 2, 2017: According to the first reviews last night's 'event' at Vive la bouffe! was something of a snore fest:  

badA$$: "Really? A half-hour of television, then dinner, and then [shakes head] you get 'that look' that says it's bedtime and it's time to go home? It's like the maitre d' thinks we're a bunch of ten-year-olds FFS"

purplenoise67: "At least the chiken was tender, and no bones"

mcool: "The only (brief) excitement was when one of the guests set fire to her napkin"

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On Friday, May 19, 2017, La Bufala hosted dinner for 17.  On the menu:  Spicy Oven-Roasted Shrimp accompanied by a Lentil & Rice Salad.  The very next day, many of the same restaurant patrons gathered in the back garden at Le Jardin, waiting impatiently—while the sun slowly set and the Dogwood blossoms gradually closed—for 6:30pm.  Dinner hour came and went, though, with no sign of a meal, and despondent guests finally left. One customer (known only by his nom de plumeDimples99) who refused to leave until he'd been given dinner was eventually handcuffed and escorted down the street to Barristers.  He was just in the process of being finger-printed and arraigned when he pulled a 'Get Out of Jail Free' coupon out of his pocket and handed it to Barristers' waiter. Upon his release, Dimples sauntered down to the bottom of the street to collect more coupons from the lower margin of a Netflix poster that was stapled to a telephone pole. His next stop—who knows?  The Restless Quill, for a free book of poetry?  Or Pälegg, for a tray of Ski Queen cheese?

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Mother's Day, May 14, 2017:  After slurping Pho at Pho Thu Do on Somerset last night, Vive la bouffe!'s waiter and waitress, accompanied by their son (Vive's barista), walked north on Lorne Avenue and around the block, stopping only to have a very confusing conversation with an elderly couple and their son—

Vive la bouffe! waiter:  "We just had Pho with our daughter at her favorite Pho place" (n.b. waiter failed to mention that his daughter was no longer with them as she had left the restaurant in the opposite direction to walk back to her condo)

elderly woman (discombobulated but, after a meaningful look at the Vive barista, determined to keep the conversation light):  "How nice!  Ronald just came back from Toronto to have dinner with us. His treat!"

Vive waitress (turning to Vive barista who is now staring intently at his shoes): "Do you think maybe you'll treat us for dinner some Mother's Day?!"

elderly man (after an awkward silence), trying to be both supportive and upbeat:  "Well maybe after the gender-transitioning is complete she'll feel more confident about doing things like that"

After a hurried exchange of goodbyes the Vive barista explained to his bewildered parents, as they were getting into the car, what had just happened. 

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 4-Button Award!!!  On Thursday May 11 (2017) a Tapas party (Smoked Salmon on Toast, Bean Dip, Vietnamese Salad Rolls, etc. etc.) was held at Vive la bouffe! to honour the Sandy Hill C.H.C.'s Client Access and Addictions teams. How good was the food? "Button-bursting good".  A total of four buttons popped off blouses and/or coats in the course of the evening—one button was found and handed over to the owner at the door, two were found later that night after the guests had left, and a final button was found on the floor the next morning. Congratulations to all those who brought such delicious food!

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On April 30, 2017, a group of diners—a full week after Easter Sunday but still, it would seem, in a state of spiritual ecstasy—talked excitedly about bibles at The Morris GastroPub, while feasting on Bouillabaisse.  Read reviews here.

Saturday, April 15 (2017): At a recent, family-booked dinner party at Vive la bouffe! one poor soul accidentally put a large dollop of wasabi instead of guacamole on a chip.  Out of respect, there will be none of the usual sarcastic commentary posted here on foodhippo.ca, other than this solitary, sombre confirmation of the facts. The authorities are looking into who it was who put the guacamole bowl next to the wasabi.

April 20, 2017: Our intrepid foodhippo reviewer (and sometime hockey fan) recently found himself facing off against a meatball sandwich at the Prescott Tavern on Preston Ave.  In his post-game analysis, he said the sandwich deserved a double-minor for "attempt to injure" ("... heavy, greasy, salty").  When pressed for a more detailed review (which is what we pay him for after all) he said that the sandwich was "extremely tasty" but at the same time "depressing", because it made him realize "just how good the Westboro restaurants featured on foodhippo.ca actually are and yet... none of them keep the hours of The Prescott" (7 days a week, 11am-1am).

On the evening of Saturday, April 1 (2017), Diva's hosted dinner for a party of six.  The meal (Spaghetti with a Red Sauce) was delicious, but early reviewers have had more to say about Diva's 'dreamy' waitress, not to mention the noisy baker.  Read the reviews here.

On Sunday night March 1, 2017, The Frosty Mug hosted dinner for twelve.  The Chicken Marbella was delicious, but the mostly liberal, leftist and progressive patrons at The Mug were given something decidedly less palatable to chew on as well. Read the new reviews here.

 La Bufala called in a number of suspects for questioning on Saturday night, February 18, 2017, in hopes of turning up clues in the CMBM (LiR).  Bufala's Kitchen Supervisor had requested the help of a 'sniffer dog', but the dog's owners were out of town and the people looking after the dog wanted to keep it at home to pat it. Oh yes—on Bufala's menu that night: Monkfish in a Thai Red Curry Coconut Milk Sauce.

Six diners from Ottawa and Halifax converged on Montreal's Un Petit Peu on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, for a weekend of arts, culture... and bouffing. Read the new reviews here.

Feb. 14, 2017: After seeking a ruling in front of Canada's Supreme Court on the constitutionality of s. 194(1) of the Securities Act, a few key members of the legal team (who argued against Her Majesty the Queen—see photo in entry below) met at The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse for dinner (Poached Salmon Dusted with Red Spice) and discussion.  One of the lawyers who was present at the meal is the son of Eden Street's owners.

Feb. 10, 2017:  Two members of a Gourmet Travel Club based in London England, now touring Upper Canada with the goal of sampling the best of Canadian cuisine, arrived in Ottawa today raving about their first dining experience—lunch at an exclusive little bistro by the name of Tim Hortons, on Highway 7 near Perth, Ontario. Read their reviews of Tim Hortons and Vive la bouffe! here.

The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse  hosted a reunion of fellow restauranteurs on Saturday night, February 4 2017 (read the new reviews here).  In attendance—La Bufala's waitress, now back in Ottawa after taking part in the historic Women's March in Washington DC.  Barristers' legal team was at Eden Street as well, just off the plane from Bogata Colombia where they interrogated the only suspect in The Case of the Missing Black Mittens (Lined in Red).  They refused to comment on the case, citing lawyer-client privilege.  Palegg's Kitchen Supervisor didn't say anything directly about the mittens either, but she had plenty to say about the foodhippo reviewer's misuse of accents over vowels in the Norwegian reviews of Palegg.  Ironic, when you consider that the foodhippo reviewer got her to do the translations! 

The Frosty Mug's Maître D’ has been awarded the prestigious Golden Hippo for "Keeping his Beer Steins at a Constant Temperature of -12º C".

 The 2017 Restaurant Season began in earnest with two Dinner Soirées at Un Petit Peu in Montreal.  Customers dieted on bite-sized hors d'oeuvre (accompanied by a few bottles of red wine) and then stumbled down Rue Mackay to Garage Beirut (Lebanese food, 1238 rue Mackay) and—after the next soirée—to Avesta (Turkish food, 2077 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest).  Read the reviews.

 A New Year’s Day Luncheon was held at La Mangeoire Pic-Bois on the afternoon of January 1, 2017.  If one uses the Westboro Restaurant Association standards for measuring the success of a dinner party (Reg.168-s75: If Netflix isn’t mentioned within the first fifteen minutes, a party has to be considered 'remarkable' and Reg.168-s76: If Netflix isn’t mentioned within the first hour, the party is 'nothing short of a triumph') then a fair-minded reviewer* would have to concede that the luncheon at La Mangeoire Pic-Bois—during which Netflix wasn’t mentioned once!—was a 'remarkable triumph’.  Luncheon guests laughed and chatted and dined on all manner of delicacies.  They also watched as pic-bois after pic-bois fed from the suet-feeder hanging just outside the large picture window.  

*Remember, though, that the foodhippo reviewer has never pretended to be (yawn) “fair-minded”.  And so, while La Mangeoire Pic-Bois’s application for membership in the FRC (Foodhippo Restaurant Club) winds its way through the bureaucratic channels, the best we can do is to conditionally award Pic-Bois 1.5 stars, and warn the owners that the next review might be quite a bit harsher.

 Le Jardin hosted a large New Year's Eve Bash on the evening of December 31, 2016.  See bottom of this page for the new reviews.

 December 29, 2016:  Rex served up a multi-ethnic feast of Vietnamese Salad Rolls, Chinese Dumplings and Thai Yellow Curry with Tofu to welcome two intrepid exiles back to Canada (their home is in Quebec).  Read the new review here.

 Christmas Day, 2016:  Even as eight convivial carnivores were indulging in a Roast Turkey Feast at Vive la bouffe!, vegetarians gathered down the street at La Bufala.  The 'grande evento' there, according to the Bufala waitress, was that one customer "lost her black mittens lined in red, and today in an email accused [name withheld] of losing them, possibly at our restaurant".

 December 24, 2016:  Nine patrons enjoyed Hot & Sour Soup and All-You-Can-Eat Sushi at Vive la bouffe! (read new reviews).  Meanwhile, just up the street, the owners of Pälegg, thinking it was the 25th and not the 24th (Kitchen Manager is from Norway which is five hours ahead—so she was only 19 hours too early!) served a traditional Christmas Dinner: roast turkey, stuffing, etc.

 On December 10 2016, The Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse hosted 40 dinner guests for a 'birthday gala' for Eden Streets Kitchen Manager (read the new reviews)

 On November 29, 2016, five patrons enjoyed a selection of fine cheeses, brought back from France by the Maîtres Affineur at Rex. (read new review here)

 Dinner for three was served in the Chandelier Room at Edgehill’s-by the-Lake in Kingston, Ontario on the evening of Saturday, November 26, 2016.

 On Saturday November 26, 2016, La Bufala hosted an afternoon reception to honour the long and storied life of the father of Bufala’s owner.

 On November 20, 2016, the Eden Street Café & Salmon Smokehouse served a Moroccan Stew to three customers.

 On November 9, 2016, La Bufala hosted a US-election-night wingding.  Read reviews here.

 On October 22, 2016, ten ‘regulars’ enjoyed Spinach Lasagne and Green Beans & Mushrooms at Vive la bouffe! 

 On October 10, 2016 The Morris GastroPub held a Thanksgiving Day dinner party for a party of eight.


ASk The hippo
cutlery

foodhippo.ca is proud to support fine-dining groups around the world, including two very special not-for-profit organizations based right here in Canada’s capital—

Bouffers Without Borders®

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What is Bw/oB? It’s an NGO set up to help Canadians—be they diplomats, journalists, professional chefs or holiday-seekers—who want to be able to cook what they want, when they want it, wherever they may be. Members are trained to use a state-of-the-art, all-in-one portable kitchen. Never again will they be caught somewhere, unable to enjoy Coq au Vin or Puy Lentils with Tahani & Cumin or (see diary entry below, made by one of bouffe!’s chefs during a recent visit to China)Tofu á la bouffe!

bouffers-column15pm: Chef Hamilton, portable kitchen in tow, arrives in small village (population: 27 million) on upper Yangtze River.

Hundreds of restaurants nearby, but none of them serve Tofu á la Bouffe! Not a problem for a charter member of Bouffers Without Borders®.

bouffers-column25:25pm (top photo): After checking into hotel room, Hamilton opens cooking case and plugs it in.

5:30pm (bottom photo): With rice cooker already set to ‘ON’, gai lan and mushrooms are washed in bathroom sink (n.b. bathtub can be used for larger dinner parties).

bouffers-column35:44-6:10pm (top): Onions, gailan, mushrooms and tofu fry in pungent chili-garlic sauce.

All going well—smoke alarm doesn’t go off and there are no probing calls from front desk. At 6:13pm (bottom photo) a knock on door from confused hotel guest wondering if this is entrance to hotel restaurant.

bouffers-column46:22pm: With his feet up, Chef Hamilton ‘bouffes to the roof’© in the comfort of his hotel room.

Just another made-to-order meal in the life of a Bouffer Without Borders®.  Tomorrow’s menu: Linguine con le Vongole (p.131) in Yuèyáng, Hunan province. Mardarin word for clam: 蛤

Dining With Dignity©

YUK! Hospital FoodIt’s a sad indictment of modern society that many people’s final meal is bland, boring hospital food paired with a flavourless non-alcoholic potassiumion IV drip.

Members of Dining With Dignity©, dine differently.

They order whatever they want—sushi, teriyaki chicken, paella, Steak and Mushrooms (see photo below)—and a multicourse meal is delivered to their home. It’s Chef-Assisted Dining© made easy.

Drink service includes a choice of red or white wine served in leaded crystal stemware (don’t worry about the lead) or a well-hopped IPA served in a freezer-chilled pilsner stein.

Join Dining With Dignity©, and make your Last Supper a special one.

steak and mushrooms